Sunday 21 March 2021

My second census

Counted as one of us

Two weekends ago, I filled in the census forms online even though today, the 21st of March 2021 is Census Day in England. I did not expect my circumstances or living arrangements to change between then and now.

The UK census is taken every 10 years from 1801 with the year ending in a 1, there was one census in April 1966, I am not too sure if we participated in it. The next census, where I was indeed counted, was in Jos, Nigeria, in 1973, the enumerator arrived at our house and was in a meeting with my parents for about an hour before we all had a finger inked to indicate we had been counted.

In April 1991, my living arrangements were quite fluid that I eventually did not get counted at all. The 2001 & 2011 censuses had me out in The Netherlands where for privacy reasons direct censuses are not conducted at except for from data gleaned from other sources, so, the first census in which I have been counted in the majority would be this one, and I am 55.

Who and what we are

The range of questions I had to answer covered status, occupation, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Whilst I would normally fall under the grouping of Black British, I do prefer to identify as Black English. I found that there was a determination to peg me down to my particular ethnic ancestry and so, I have to volunteer that my parents are Nigerian.

For the first time, we were asked what our sexual orientation was and evidently, I am Gay and for now single in the UK until I get married to Brian soon. My gender identity is male, though the need for that question indicates the change times and norms as to how we identify.

More and more, many of our civic responsibilities are performed online and we are open to sanction or fines if we do not participate in the census with a possible £1,000 fine, much as well if we do not register to vote. What appears to be voluntary is not necessarily so and because of a 100-year rule, the public will not have access to the results of this census until the year 2122.

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