Effective decisions need to be based on quality information, which is why 2011 Census statistics can help you. Census statistics can be used as evidence to inform public debate, research and policy, and to underpin proposals from community and voluntary groups, putting more power and influence in the hands of voluntary organisations.

With cuts to public services, there is increasing pressure on the voluntary sector to deal with any unmet needs. Statistics are vital in raising funds, assessing target groups and directing resources in the most efficient way.

Understanding local communities

Census statistics are essential to local voluntary organisations to understand the local communities they are working in - demographics, ethnicity, languages, household structures, education etc.

The Salvation Army uses census data in this way to understand the demographics of communities in which it works or plans to work.

Funding applications

Community, special interest group or charities use census statistics to give weight to their funding applications. The statistics produced by the census provide credible, factual, recognised data to use for grant applications and other purposes. Where external funding is required, they can also provide the confidence to enable other partners and agencies to support applications for finance.

Communities gaining recognition

The Ravidassia (a religion from India) community needed an accurate count of the number of Ravidassia within England and Wales to campaign for more recognition at national level. Consequently, it encouraged community members to record Ravidassian in response to the national identity and ethnicity questions in the 2011 Census.

Examples of the impact of census data:

Children’s Society ‘Hidden from View’ report reveals the impact on young carers. The report uses 2011 Census data in relation to children with caring responsibilities and the impact it has on their lives from health to educational achievements. The report is available from the Children's Society website:


The housing and homelessness charity Shelter highlights the growing trend in young people and families who are unable to find a stable, affordable home. Their article '2011 Census, Mapping a decade of housing change' is available from the Shelter website:


An example of local government using census data to understand local communities and inform local residents can be seen in the Greater London Authority’s London Dashboard, showing 2011 Census population and ethnicity data for London: