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The Census@Leicester Project

In a new age of ‘super diversity’ and ‘minority majority’ cities, Leicester is becoming increasingly unique in its socio-demographic make-up. The Census@Leicester Project utilised past and present census data to explore Leicester’s ever-changing profile with particular focus on the themes of ethnicity, migration, and health. The project’s main objectives were:

  • To use census data to understand the socio-demographics of Leicester to inform research, teaching, and work with policy makers and stakeholders.
  • To create a series of conversations about the data with key groups who may use the data in their planning, service intervention, and practice.
  • To provide a useable secondary dataset for student project engagement for longer term use.

The first stage of this research was essentially a pilot study to highlight the value census data holds from research, teaching, and policy perspectives and create a series of conversations about the data with key groups who may use the data in their planning, service intervention, and practice. In this initial phase, the research was conducted by a team of four student interns and led by Dr Joshua Stuart-Bennett (

An overview of the migration, health and ethnicity in Leicester from the Census 2021 data and recommendations for areas for further research can be found in our Census@Leicester report (PDF, 2.8MB).

Student testimonies


During the course of our Census@Leicester internship I have mainly focused on analysing UK census migration and ethnicity data for Leicester between 2021 and 2011, and how it compares to national data as well as nearby large towns and cities such as Nottingham, Birmingham, Inner London and Derby. I believe that our Census@Leicester research project is a valuable opportunity to obtain and analyse quantitative data about the characteristics of our Leicester population and understand how Leicester compares and differs from local towns and cities as well as nationally.

Consequently, academic researchers will gain a greater understanding of how migration, ethnicity and now health trends have changed in Leicester over the past 30 years, in comparison to England and nearby towns and cities, and design research aims to study the underlying reasons driving changes in Leicester’s ethnicity, migration and health demographic data. This will enable researchers to predict how factors driving changes in Leicester’s population will shape our population over the next decade and may inform policy making such as resource allocation to ensure that we can effectively meet the changing needs of our local population and be replicated by other research groups in the UK to help them gain a greater understanding of their changing population too. Students of all disciplines can gain valuable insight into how Leicester’s population has changed over the past 30 years and practice analysing census quantitative data analysis including statistical analysis techniques.

Currently, I am analysing and co-writing our health report to analyse and explain Leicester’s 2021 health data and how it has changed over the past 30 years. I will then compare how our 2021 health census data for Leicester compares Inner London and neighbouring cities and towns such as Birmingham, Nottingham, and Derby.


As a research assistant, I have been working on a project that involves analysing Census 2021 data. The purpose of this project is to understand demographic trends and patterns within Leicester and surrounding urban cities, mainly focusing on data relating to migration, ethnicity, and health.

Teamwork is vital in this project, as we are working with a large dataset, and it requires multiple perspectives to interpret the data and identify meaningful insights. We have weekly team meetings, where we discuss our progress, share our findings, and provide feedback to one another. The team is made up of individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, which has been beneficial in terms of solving the complexities of the project. 

Examples of tasks that I have completed, include pulling relevant Census data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) website, creating a ‘snapshot’ table which identifies general trends of the residents of Leicester, analysing the data and highlighting trends, conducting research on the impact and limitations of the Census, and creating a 20+ page report on the migration data which includes a comparison of national and regional data, as well as a comparison of data from the previous Census 2011 to show how the city has changed over the past decade. I am currently working on a similar report in collaboration with one of my teammates on the health data released in January 2023. 

One of the main challenges I have encountered during this project is working with a large amount of data. While it was easy to extract the relevant data from the ONS website, it was still necessary to organize it within their respective themes. Using Microsoft Excel, I was able to organize data and perform calculations. Additionally, by creating tables and graphs, I was able to make sense of a majority of the data and identify meaningful insights.

Another challenge I have faced is working remotely. However, with the use of our dedicated Microsoft Teams channel, we have been able to collaborate and continue working together effectively. One of the benefits of remote working is the flexibility it provides. As a full-time student, I am able to work around my teaching schedule. However, I do miss the face-to-face interaction with my colleagues and the sense of camaraderie that comes with working in an office environment.

Despite these challenges, I have found the work to be very rewarding. I am constantly learning new things and expanding my skillset. Additionally, the insights we are uncovering through our analysis were very interesting to me, having lived in Leicester for over a year, and seeing the potential this data has to inform important policy decisions and improve the lives of individuals within Leicester.

Overall, this project has been a valuable learning experience for me. It has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of data analysis and the role it plays in informing decision-making. I am excited to see where this project leads and the impact it will have.


I would like to thank Dr Joshua for giving me the opportunity to work as a student intern for the Census project. I got to learn a lot of stuff about the census data in the three different categories such as ethnicity, health and immigration. This was a remote project and we were able to work on our own flexible time. We used to have a team meeting once in a week and would decide what should be done for next week. We worked on the documentation, plotting the graphs and reporting the key outcomes of the project. Finally, I am very much grateful for my teammates, They have always helped me whenever I was stuck and whenever I was bit busy with my personal commitments, I have learnt quite a lot of stuff from them.


During the Census@Leicester Project, I primarily focused on data comparisons between Leicester and the surrounding local authorities of Leicestershire. It was particularly interesting to use QGIS to map geographical changes in ethnicity since the last census and present this data in an easy-to-digest format. I gained a lot from working on the project; I collaborated with a great multi-disciplinary team and had a lot of practice at producing graphical representations of data which I hope will be useful for informing policy decisions regarding our three key areas of research: migration, ethnicity, and health care.

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