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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 16:15 GMT
Census to gauge national identity
2001 census
The census monitors age, ethnic diversity, and housing demand
The national Census is to include a national ID question so people can say if they consider themselves English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish or British.

Census co-ordinator Joy Dobbs announced the Office of National Statistics (ONS) had decided to respond to a "strong demand... particularly from the Welsh".

The ONS received 2,000 submissions from central and local government, academia, business and members of the public.

The 2011 survey may also ask people their earnings and preferred language.

A possible question on earnings will ask which of a series of income brackets people fall into and to indicate, from a list of options, how they earn it.

Local authorities asked for a topic on languages to be included as many were now dealing with "a range of communities speaking a wide number of languages".

Questions on marital status are being extended so there is a series of equivalent ones on civil partnerships.

Ethnic diversity

But the 300m poll for England and Wales will not ask about sexual orientation, following concerns about the quality and accuracy of responses, given the forms are addressed to whole households.

An e-petition has now started up on the Downing Street website calling for sexual orientation to be included.

Questions asking whether people live in a tower block or have a bath, shower or toilet at home are being replaced by more relevant enquiries about their quality of housing.

The census monitors population age, ethnic diversity, household size and housing demand.

It is used to decide how to allocate local authority cash and where to site schools, old people's homes, shops and neighbourhood renewal programmes.

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