How accurate is the 2001 Census?
Most of the criticism about the accuracy of the 2001 Census has related to possible underestimates of population in inner-city areas. Since this is less of an issue in Bedfordshire, we can assume that the Census is largely accurate in terms of Bedfordshire’s population numbers and characteristics. At the same time, it must be recognised that 2001 Census forms were filled out on a self-completion basis, and while the ONS did apply an elaborate series of measures to eliminate obvious errors (e.g. someone aged 180) and to impute data for those households not returning the Census form, it had to assume that forms were generally completed accurately and honestly. Even though the ONS repeatedly assured people that Census data on individuals or individual households would not be used for non-Census purposes or correlated against other data held by Government, it is likely that some returns did include deliberately false information. For example, if a household owned a car with no road tax lic