What information does the 1871 census contain?

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05 March 2021
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Find your UK ancestor on the 1871 census with our guide to the dates the census was taken and what information it contains.

The census is an essential building block for your family tree, allowing you to see a snapshot of your ancestor and their family members at ten-yearly intervals.

The census returns of 1841-1911 for England, Wales and Scotland are available online and can give you a unique insight into your ancestors’ lives every 10 years. You can read more about how and where to search the census in our UK census guide.

The 1871 census

The 1871 census was taken on 2 April 1871 and in most respects, repeated the questions that had been asked in the 1861 census, with the addition for England and Wales that asked whether a person was: blind/deaf & dumb/ imbeclie/idiot, lunatic. For Scotland, 'unemployed' was added to the occupation question, schooling question amended to age 5-13, and new disability categories added: imbecile, idiot, lunatic.

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What information does the UK 1871 census contain?

  • First name
  • Surname
  • Age 
  • Sex 
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Rank/profession/occupation (with 'unemployed' added, Scotland only)
  • Marital status
  • Whether born in county where enumerated, plus county and parish for England & Wales
  • Whether born in Scotland, Ireland or 'foreign parts' (England, Wales & Channel islands), or born in Scotland, England, Ireland or 'foreign parts' (Scotland)
  • Whether blind, deaf or dumb (Scotland only)
  • How many children aged 5-13 are being educated at home (Scotland only)
  • How many rooms with 1 or more windows (Scotland only)
  • Whether blind/deaf & dumb/ imbeclie/idiot, lunatic (England and Wales) imbecile, idiot, lunatic (Scotland)

The population for England & Wales at this census was recorded as 22,712,266, Scotland: 3,360,018. 

No full 1871 census survives for Ireland but you can search the existing records at National Archives Ireland.

QUICK LINK: How to use the census for find your ancestors on the 1841-1921 censuses