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Shropshire Archives is currently closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Census returns

The census is a count of the population. The UK census is taken every ten years. The earliest census was 1801, but the first few censuses give only statistical information. From 1841 onwards, the census includes names of individuals and other information such as age and place of birth, which is fantastic for family history.

The full census returns are only available when they are over 100 years old.

Census returns online

Census returns 1841-1911 are searchable on the Ancestry and FindMyPast websites. We subscribe to the library editions of these sites so you can search on the computers here and at libraries in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin for free.

Finding and using census returns at Shropshire Archives

We hold microfiche copies of census returns, 1841-1901, for Shropshire. Please book a microfiche viewer in advance.

A few parishes made population returns between 1801 and 1841. These generally just give the head of the household and numbers in the family and are available for:

Most  have been transcribed and you can search the indexes and view digital images on our website by following the links.  Read more about how to find them on our blog.

We also hold some statistics from more recent population counts, ref qC31.2

Find out more

For more information please check our printable short guides page.

Information in other places

Statistics from more recent census are on the website for the Office of National Statistics

Other sites that might be useful for statistical information are:

Vision of Britain – reports based on information from censuses up to 1971 and you can search for census data relating to a town or district

Online Historical Population Reports – online access to the complete population reports for Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1937 and background information, including examples of documents.