Census 2011: Questionnaire Arrived in Our Post

今日、私達の郵便ポストにCensus 2011(国勢調査)の調査票が届いた。イギリスでは、1801年以来、第二次世界大戦中の1941年を除いて、10年毎に国勢調査が行われている。仕事、健康、教育、人種などを尋ねる調査票は、3月27日か、それ以降ならなるべく早く記入して、送料無料の返信用封筒で返送。また、今回イギリス国勢調査史上初めて、オンラインでも記入可能となった。調査への参加は法律によって義務づけられており、違反すると£1000以下の罰金が科される。まあこれは建前で、前回調査票の記入を怠ったとされる約300万人のうち、処罰を受けたのはたった38人だったそうだ。イングランドとウェールズの2600万世帯は同じ調査票を使うが、北アイルランドとスコットランドは独自に調査を行う。調査結果は、イギリスまたはEUが、地方自治体の公共サービスを計算する際に使われるという。

今回、英語のできない移民のために3万人のスタッフが雇われたとされ、約5億ポンドにも上る調査費用に批判も出ている(Daily Telegraph 記事)。前回2001年に比べ、350万人の人口増加が見込まれ、その増加分の3分の2が移民によるものだそうだ。32ページの調査票は56言語に翻訳され、移民のためのテレビ局での公共広告、お店や宗教施設で配布されるパンフレットにも、多額の税金が費やされる。移民に寛大なのはいいけれど、学習が困難な一部は別として、移民も基本的な英語ぐらいは理解できないと、と自分も外国人として思う。社会のお荷物と思われ、世間の風当たりが強くなって、嫌な思いをするのは彼らなんだから。

We found an envelope enclosing Census 2011 form in our post today. UK census takes place once every 10 years since 1801, with the exception of 1941 during the World War II. Questions include jobs, health, education and ethnic background, and the questionnaire must be completed on 27 March 2011, or as soon as possible afterwards. For the first time, you can fill in online as well as on paper which must be posted. Every household  is required to respond by law, and there is a fine of up to £1,000 for failing to complete and return the form, theoretically – only 38 people were prosecuted, among 3 million people failed to complete on census 2001. 26 million households in England and Wales file the same form, while Northern Ireland and Scotland run separate censuses. The results of the census will be used in calculation of regional and local public service, by governments in the UK and EU.

The government is criticized about its high cost, which is expected to reach almost £500 million, as 30,000 staffs are hired to help immigrants who don’t speak English to take part in the census, as well as inflation (Daily Telegraph article). There will be an estimated 3.5 million more people to count in this census, largely as a result of immigration and two-thirds of the population growth has come from direct or indirect migration. The 32-page form is translated into 56 languages, while advertisements are being broadcast on ethnic minority TV channels and leaflets are distributed to shops and religious facilities. It is great that the government is so generous, but immigrants (except some with difficulty in learning) shouldn’t take advantage from tolerance of British, and try to learn basic English at least I believe, as a foreigner myself. Otherwise, they are the ones who are affected by a public backlash when they are perceived as a burden on a society.

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One response to “Census 2011: Questionnaire Arrived in Our Post

  1. Pingback: A Life of an Average British Family | everydaylife.style

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