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Census 2021

Census day has now passed. You must fill in your census, if you haven’t already. Whatever your needs, there are support services to help you. If you need help, visit the census website or call 0800 141 2021.

Operating in line with the Government’s latest Covid-19 guidance, field officers will be deployed across the country to contact those who have not responded. They will offer help and advice to those who need it. They will also remind people that their census response is required by law.

What is the census?

The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

It will be the first run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets from early March.

How do I get involved?

The census will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

How to start your census now

You should have already received a letter with an online code explaining how you can complete your form. If you didn't receive a letter, please get in touch with the census contact centre. You can also request a paper questionnaire if you’d prefer to complete your census that way.

Once you have received your code, you can start your census online. You must complete the census by law or you could be fined up to £1,000.

Local census support centres will be open while the census is happening. Staff will offer help for people not confident online, who don’t have a computer or need help completing on paper.

For more information, read through the frequently asked questions below, visit the census website online or call 0800 141 2021.

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Frequently Asked Questions


 

+ What is the census?

The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. The information you give helps decide how services are planned and funded in your local area. This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, housing or new bus routes. It asks questions about you and your household to build a picture of all of us. It looks at who we are and how we live. There’s no other survey that gives as much information about our society and future needs.

+ When is it happening?

Census day is March 21. However, households will receive a letter in the post in early March, giving them details of how to take part in the mandatory survey. They will also receive a unique access code, inviting them to complete the survey online, although paper questionnaires are available on request.

+ Why should I take part?

The census helps us understand what our society needs now and what it will likely need in the future. The information it collects helps with decisions on the planning and funding of services in your area. This could include schools, doctors’ surgeries, emergency services or even local support groups. Charities also use census information to help get the funding they need. Businesses use it to decide where to set up, which creates job opportunities.

+ How long will it take?

The census will take around 10 minutes per person to complete. It’s easy to do and can be done on any device, including a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

+ What if I don't speak English or Welsh?

Translation booklets are available to download. If your language is not represented, please contact the customer contact centre on 0800 141 2021.

+ How can I get help to complete my questionnaire?

The help pages at the census website explains how you can get help. These include general guidance, language assistance and a wide range of accessible formats including video and audio guides (English and Welsh). You can also phone the contact centre on 0800 141 2021 or visit one of our support centres offering assistance.

+ What happens if I don't complete my questionnaire?

You could face prosecution, a hefty fine (up to £1000) and a criminal record. Please visit the census website online for more information, and any questions you have, about the census.