By Kathrin Levitan (auth.)
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Additional resources for A Cultural History of the British Census: Envisioning the Multitude in the Nineteenth Century
Separately, censuses of religion and education would be taken. 117 Even with these more limited additions, Graham warned that the census would require a great deal more labor and money than that of 1841, because of both the increase in information and the larger population. For Graham, preparing for this more extended census meant communicating in advance with individuals involved with the army, the navy, the canals, the merchant shipping board, the prisons, the Poor Law board, and “A National Undertaking”: Taking the Census 35 lunatic asylums, all of which sent returns directly to the Census Office instead of being counted by enumerators.
This meant that most of the aggregates to which individuals belonged were not located anywhere other than the nation, an abstract rather than a geographical location. This is not to say that the local ceased to be important in mid-nineteenthcentury Britain. ”94 The census after 1841, rather than pinning individuals down, extracted them from their local communities into various nationally based demographic groups, even if those national groups could then be broken down again into local ones. Despite the dramatic expansion of the census in 1841, some of the suggestions made by the committee of the Statistical Society of London, including questions about marital status, religion, and health, did not make it on to the census.
McCulloch wanted the census to provide a great deal more information than it did, including statistics that could depict recent changes in industry and their effects, as well as information about disease and epidemics. He also asked for a more precise categorization of occupations and class distinctions. ”48 For McCulloch, the census in its full form would explain nothing less than the progress of society, and would bring insight into fluctuations in trade, the rise and fall of different classes, and the healthiness of different occupations.