The Census is Coming

Households across England and Wales will soon be asked to take part in Census 2021.


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’s been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.


Who should complete the census?

Everyone living and working in England and Wales (Scotland and Ireland are doing their census in 2022)


How do you complete it?

It will be the first census 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.

If you’re 16 or over you can call the census helpline and request access to complete a questionnaire independently and anonymously to the rest of your household.


I don’t have access to the internet?

Paper questionnaires will be available by calling the number on the letter you receive or you can complete it online by visiting one of the census support centres.


When does it take place?

Census day will be on March 21, but households across the country will receive letters with online codes allowing them to take part from early March.


What questions does it ask?

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.


How secure is my data?

When the ONS publishes statistics, they’re completely anonymous. They don’t include any personal information and you can not be identified via census data. Your personal census information is protected by law and it’s a crime for anyone to share it. This means government departments dealing with any applications you’ve made or any payments or services you receive cannot see your census information. For example it cannot be used to influence benefit claims, a residency application, immigration status or taxes. Private organisations and individuals such as landlords will not have access to your personal information. ONS will never sell your data.

All census records are kept secure for 100 years and only then can they be viewed by future generations, for example, by those interested in family history.


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Posted on: 26th January 2021