Figure 1: Definition of ‘housewife’ in 1971 Census

The housewife is defined as that member of the household, male or female, who is mainly responsible for household shopping. There was no question on this subject in the census but the following rules were developed for selecting the housewife for each household:

a) If the head of the household is female, she is the housewife.

b) If the head of the household is a married man, his wife is the housewife.

c) If the head of the household is a single, widowed or divorced man, or a married man whose wife is not shown as a member of the household then

i) if there are no females aged 20 or over in the household the head himself is the housewife or

ii) if there are females aged 20 or over in the household the eldest related member is housewife and if none are related then the eldest female is housewife.

These rules were developed in consultation with interested Government Departments, the Royal Statistical Society, the Market Research Society and the Institute of Practitioner sin Advertising.


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Figure 2: Information on the definition of Scottish Gaelic in the 1981 Census.

Scottish gaelic

The question on the Gaelic language was as follows:

8 Scottish Gaelic

Can the person speak, read or write Scottish Gaelic?

1  Can speak Gaelic

2 Can read Gaelic

3 Can write Gaelic

4 Does not know Gaelic

The question was included on all household and individual forms fielded in Scotland and was asked of all persons aged 3 or over.

A new form of the question has been asked that concentrates on the ability to speak, read or write Scottish Gaelic. The section of the 1971 question that asked Gaelic speakers if they could also speak English was dropped, because the small numbers involved who did not speak English could not be accurately measured from a census.


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Figure 3: paragraph describing computer identification of family relationships

A computer algorithm identified families (as defined in para 89) using the answers to the questions on relationship, sex and marital status. Each person usually resident in the household (excluding domestic servants) was given a two-part code; the first part of the code gave the relationship of the head of that person’s family to the first person in the household, or, for the persons not in a family, the person’s own relationship to the first person in the household. The second part of the code identified each family within the household; persons not in a family were given a value of zero. Thus, all members of a family were allocated the same two part code and could therefore be identified as a family unit.

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Figure 4: Information on changes to occupational classification in the 1991 Census

7.53 Late in 1989 OPCS conducted a consultation exercise to ascertain whether there was any user requirement to revise the terminology of the then existing classification in order to answer a long-standing criticism that the name implied that the classification embraced many s social characteristics, whereas it is, in fact, based solely on occupation.

7.54 Some of the interested parties consulted supported the proposal to change the name of the classification from Social Class to Occupational Skill Group, though many preferred a simpler name, such as Occupational category. But there was, however, serious opposition to any change; in particular, it was pointed out that. although the classification is indeed based on occupation. it is related to other factors, and is applied to all members of a household or family, including those without occupations.

7.55 In the light of the views expressed, OPCS decided to retain the name ‘social class’ but to expand it to Social Class based on occupation in order to make its basis more explicit.

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