United Kingdom census, 1841

The United Kingdom Census of 1841 recorded the occupants of every United Kingdom household on the night of 6 June 1841.[1] The enactment of the Population Act 1840 meant a new procedure was adopted for taking the 1841 census. It was described as the "first modern census" as it was the first to record information about every member of the household, and administered as a single event, under central control, rather than being devolved to a local level. It formed the model for all subsequent UK censuses, although each went on to refine and expand the questions asked of householders.

It was important for early demographic analysis of the United Kingdom population and remains of interest to historians, demographers and genealogists, although the information about each person is quite limited compared with that available from later censuses.


Due to the Population Act 1840, the United Kingdom Census of 1841 was conducted using a different framework to earlier United Kingdom censuses. The origins of the Population Act 1840 was the report of the 1830 Select Committee on the Population Bill, reprinted in 1840.[2] The subject of much speculation during the select committee hearings and report was the accuracy of previous census returns,[2] the first national census being held in 1801.[3]

During 1840, a Bill titled, 'Population. A bill [as amended by the committee] for taking an account of the population of Great Britain; and of the parish-registers, and annual value of assessable property in England' progressed through Parliament.[4] The Bill received Royal Assent as 'An Act for taking an Account of the Population of Great Britain 1840', with the short title, Population Act 1840.

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