The Durham Census 2021

Originating in 1801, the census has been taken in the UK every 10 years since.

As well as being required by the law, completing the census is beneficial for the distribution of public services, healthcare funds and Greggs cafes.

In 1911, Emily Wilding Davison hid in a cupboard in the House of Commons so that her address would be recorded as such, making a stand for women’s suffrage and, simply, a woman’s right to be there. The dilemma for students currently in Durham is whether to hide in Klute or in the Bill Bryson library after 8pm. 

This year, responses can be filled out online without a paper copy, and thankfully the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is not relying on duo or Turnitin for this process.

Freshers are familiar with the protocol, being asked their ‘Durham stats’ at every turn, but it is important that the rest of us do a little mental preparation before tackling the questions. For instance, has anyone actually been asked their name since using Zoom, where your name hovers below your head at all times?

Questions like ‘During term time, where do you normally live?’ may hit hard this year. Somewhere between ‘in the four pink walls of my childhood bedroom’ and ‘the state of despair’ might be appropriate.

For clarification, a college marriage – regardless of how successful it is or how many Tinders you have written about each other – does not count as your ‘legal marital or registered civil partnership status’. Perhaps one day there will be equality.

While the census has been praised for its progressiveness both in digitising the format and in the inclusion of voluntary questions regarding gender and sexual orientation, we believe there are some questions that the students of Durham should really be asked.

For example, between 1971 and 1991, households were asked if they had an outside toilet. Perhaps a better question for student houses would be ‘Do you have a functioning heating system, shower and/or oven?’ and ‘How likely is your landlord to do anything about it?’.

Here are some alternative questions, specifically for Durham students, that we would like to propose to ONS:

  1. What college are you in?
  2. What college do you wish you were in?
  3. How many lectures have you been to this term?
  4. Is it more or less than the number of times you have been to Flat White?
  5. How many Durfess posts have you written?
  6. How many of the above have actually been posted?
  7. How would you describe your role in the house/flat? House Mum, the Baby, the Liability, other: ___.
  8. Is your bedroom the best, middle or worst in your house?
  9. Are you the person responsible for taking the bins out? if yes, skip to 12. if no, see 10.
  10. Do you end up taking the bins out anyway?
  11. Have you ever been thanked for taking the bins out?
  12. Do you think you have spent more, the same, or less time than your housemates cleaning the house?
  13. How likely are you to do a panic Masters?
  14. Have you ever submitted an essay more than 5 days in advance?
  15. Do you know how to check out a book from the library?
  16. How many societies are you in?
  17. How many societies still have your email from the Freshers’ Fair?
  18. Do any societies not have your email from the Freshers’ Fair?
  19. Do you genuinely enjoy Klute?
  20. Do you believe it is possible or is everyone just going along with it?
  21. How many pairs of flairs do you currently own?
  22. Have you considered wearing glasses for aesthetic purposes only?
  23. Are you the fastest walker in Durham?

You are required to complete the census. Please do not hide in Klute or the Bill Bryson library. Featured image by Andrew Ballantyne on Flickr

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