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A Cultural History of the British Census: Envisioning the by K. Levitan

By K. Levitan

The British census performs an unquestioned function in governance this present day, and the hot digitization of 19th century census info has allowed hundreds of thousands of novice researchers to imagine their nationwide and familial previous. This learn tells the tangled tale of the way the census took form over the early a long time of its lifestyles, constructing from an easy counting of families through the Napoleonic Wars right into a centralized project that concerned the governmental and highbrow luminaries of Victorian Britain. alongside the best way, the census intertwined with the urgent questions of the day, together with Malthusianism, industrialization, political illustration, Irish immigration, women’s employment, copy, and empire. The e-book explores the hotly disputed technique during which the census was once created and built and examines how a large solid of characters, together with statisticians, novelists, nationwide and native officers, political and social reformers, and reporters replied to and used the assumption of a census. It indicates that the act of describing British society in statistical phrases used to be additionally an act of contestation.

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Extra resources for A Cultural History of the British Census: Envisioning the Multitude in the Nineteenth Century (Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History)

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124 Nonetheless, international discussion of the census contributed important elements to the debates within Britain. The National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, like the statistical societies of the 1830s, counted influential politicians, economists, and writers among its founding members. 129 Mann himself was a civil servant for the government, and his complaint is indicative of the tension between different government offices that often arose over such costly enterprises as the census.

It also depicts a family-based economy that was soon going to fall apart as industrialization picked up speed, and increasing numbers of both men and women left the home to work. Another question that had caused confusion on the first census regarded the numbers of empty and inhabited houses. 37 The innovations of 1811 were repeated in 1821. In 1821, the government also attempted to divide people into age groups. ”39 The results were therefore not complete enough to provide the conclusive abstracts that the insurance societies wanted.

As a Treasury report of 1855 noted, “The objects of the Census, and the machinery by which they are obtained, are so analogous to the ordinary operations of the registration system . . ”77 The 1841 census and those following were conducted by this office, and the men who worked there had a great deal of control over the directions in which the census developed. The individual who had the greatest influence over the mid- century censuses was Dr. 78 He joined the RG as the head of the Statistical Department almost immediately after it was founded, and his duties there encompassed the preparation of the Office’s abstracts as well as the writing of most of the weekly, quarterly, and annual reports.

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