Census 2021 outputs: content design and release phase proposals

Closes 5 Oct 2021

3b: Armed forces veterans and the proxy answer question

For Census 2021, we asked a new question on previous service in the UK armed forces. The question was only asked of those who were aged 16 years and older.

Proposed variables for armed forces veterans

We created a new standard variable to provide a range of outputs on the population that have previously served in the UK armed forces. The proposed classification is:

  • Previously served, Regular
  • Previously served, Reserve
  • Previously served, Regular and Reserve
  • No code required

The ‘No code required’ category includes both those who have never served and those who are currently serving. We’re also investigating the feasibility of two new variables.  

The first proposed new derived variable would indicate if the household reference person has previously served in the UK armed forces. This would have the same categories as the standard variable described above. 

The second proposed new derived variable would indicate the number of former UK regular and reserve armed forces resident in a household. The simplest proposed classification is:

  • No former UK armed forces personnel in household
  • One or more former UK armed forces personnel in household

However, we’re considering if we should also include a second more detailed classification. This might for example, separate out those with one, two, three, four, five, or six or more former UK armed forces personnel in household. We will consider the upper threshold of this classification based on Census 2021 data once available, to take into account statistical disclosure risks. 

This variable could be cross-tabulated with the number of people in the household to understand the proportion of the household that are former UK armed forces personnel.

Another question in 2021 asked all respondents if they were completing the questions for themselves or for someone else. This provides an interesting new analysis variable, allowing researchers to investigate if there are trends in the data created by who completed the form.

This variable will be in the microdata products held within our Secure Research Service (SRS).  We’re considering if we should include it in the main data releases. 

The information you provide will be used to further develop our plans for releasing data and analysis on this question.  Please provide as much detail as possible to justify your data needs.  For example, what policy or planning decisions would the data or analysis affect? 

Would these armed forces veterans variables meet your needs?
Please rank the following factors in order of importance to your needs for armed forces veterans information.

‘1’ is most important, and ‘3’ is least important. If a factor is not important at all, please respond ‘Not important’

Do our plans for producing census analysis products on armed forces veterans meet your needs?

These plans are detailed in the Census 2021 analysis programme proposals (PDF, 504.8KB) document.

Would you use data on the proxy response in your analysis, if this variable was made available?

Please only consider analysis that can be produced using public, rather than safeguarded, information.