Microdata are small samples of data from individuals and households. The data include corresponding census characteristics but do not include identifying personal information.

Microdata products enable research and analysis not possible from the standard census tables, such as:

  • creating tables using bespoke variable combinations,

  • investigating specific variables or categories in a high-level of detail, and

  • conducting statistical analyses on individual-level data.

See the Microdata homepage for more information.

Microdata Teaching File

The Teaching File is an educational tool of "real" data to assist with the teaching of statistics and social sciences.

It contains anonymised records on a limited set of variables for a random sample of 1% of people in the 2011 Census output database.

Read more about and download the Teaching File.

User Guide

Published to accompany the Teaching File, the User Guide includes:

  • the purpose and contents of the Teaching File,

  • details of how the sample was drawn,

  • information on confidentiality of the data, and

  • how to cite the data source when using the Teaching File for research.

View the User Guide.

Variable List


  • a list of all the variables used within the Teaching File,

  • the codes for each category included within the variables, and

  • an explanation of what each code means, for example the code "C" in variable "Residence Type" indicates that that individual is a resident of a communal establishment and a code "1" for "Health" indicates that the individual reported very good health.

View the full Variable List.

Possibilities for exploring data

This document contains:

  • examples of how the Teaching File can be explored

  • examples of how the data can be organised to produce results

  • suggestions of ways in which custom variable combinations can be created

  • advice on how more detailed information can be obtained from the 2011 Census Teaching File, and

  • step-by-step guide to creating pivot tables.

The examples are intended to illustrate to students how the raw, person-level data can be used differently from the published statistical tables. They are not intended to act as definitive instructions.

Read more about the possibilities for data exploration.

Comparison with published statistics

This document shows the comparability of the Teaching File sample with that of the 2011 Census.

This comparison enables users to be confident that the Teaching File is representative of the population as a whole, despite representing only a 1% sample of the complete 2011 Census database.

View the Comparison with Publish Statistics.