The national census due to take place in 2011 could be the last of its kind.
The BBC understands that the government is examining other ways of measuring population and other statistics than the survey of all homes every 10 years.
In future, data could be gathered from records held by the Post Office, local government and credit checking agencies – thought to be more effective.
The government said it was “examining” whether changes could be made but no decision had been reached.
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