Interactive tool shows how life has changed since the sixties

The Queen’s car passing through crowds in Fore Street, Ipswich, in June 1961. Part of Fore Street Ba

The Queen's car passing through crowds in Fore Street, Ipswich, in June 1961 - Credit: DAVID KINDRED'S ARCHIVE

Newly digitised Census data has shown how dramatically life changed in our area between 1961 and 2011.

The digitisation of 1961 Census Small Area Statistics has made it possible to see changes in detail, at a local level, for the first time.

It took 2,800 volunteers, making 5.5 million checks, to help turn scans of statistics into digital tables.

The Office for National Statistics has produced a series of interactive tools to help explore the data.

In some rural areas of England and Wales in 1961, less than half of homes had an inside toilet.

St Nicholas Street Ipswich in the winter sunshine of February 1961. On the left is the corner of Cro

St Nicholas Street, Ipswich, in the winter sunshine of February 1961

All but 1.4% of Ipswich households had the luxury of an indoor toilet in 1961, while almost 54% of households had to go without in Hartismere Rural District – now part of Mid Suffolk.

The Census also asked if households had a fixed bath with waste-water plumbing, and access to a cooking stove, kitchen sink and hot water – questions removed in the 1981 Census.

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In Felixstowe, just 11% of households lacked an indoor bath, compared to 55% of households in Hartismere Rural District.

At the time of the 1961 Census, 68% of people aged 16 years and over were married and 0.8% were divorced. 

In the 2011 Census, 49% of people aged 16 years and over were married or in a same-sex civil partnership, and 9% were divorced or in a legally dissolved civil partnership.

Fore Street shops were preparing for a visit to Ipswich by the Queen in 1961

Fore Street shops were preparing for a visit to Ipswich by the Queen in 1961 - Credit: Archant

Only 42% of households owned their own home, and in several areas of central London, home ownership was lower than 10%.

By the time of the 2011 Census, 50 years on, home ownership had risen to 64%. 

In Ipswich, home ownership went up just 8.2% to 56.6%, compared to the Gipping area, where it leapt by more than a third to 75.9%. 

Between 1961 and 2011, the population increased and became proportionally older as a result of increased life expectancy and declining birth rates.

Haverhill's population increase ranked fourth highest in the country – growing 372.1% from 5,445 to 25,704.

Meanwhile, Aldeburgh was among the few spots where population actually fell, by 18%, from 3,007 to 2,466.

The analysis is the first to be published from the Historic Censuses Digitisation Project.

For comparison, 2011 Census data was mapped onto 1961 local authority district boundaries.

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