There is talk of this being the last ever census and for the first time the return can be completed and submitted on line.
A census has been taken every 10 years since 1801 with the exception of 1941, which was in the middle of WW2, though there was a "min-census" on Friday September 29th 1939 so that everybody could be isued with a national identity card.
- 1841 Sunday June 6th
- 1851 Sunday March 30th
- 1861 Sunday April 7th
- 1871 Sunday April 2nd
- 1881 Sunday April 3rd
- 1891 Sunday April 5th
- 1901 Sunday March 31st
- 1911 Sunday April 2nd
The early census' (1801 to 1831) were simply a head count but from 1841 onwards the names and other details of individuals were recorded. In 1841 adult ages were rounded down to the nearest 5 years then from 1851 "age last birthday" was recorded. I have print outs of every person called FARMERY (or a variant) in each census from 1841 to 1911.
Census returns are closed to public access for 100 years so the 2011 census will not be searchable until 2112! The most recent census to be released was from 1911 - ordinarily this would not have been open until January 1st 2012 but under the Freedom of Information Act most informaton was released early, in 2010, due to an anomaly in the wording of the 1911 Census Act. In 1911, for the first time, there was the additional information of how long a couple had been married and how many children there were to the marriage, both living and dead.
If this is going to be the last ever census, and because of the 100 closure rule, why not keep a copy of your return for the benefit of your descendants who might be interested in their genealogy?