Census 2021

census logoThe census is coming. By taking part, you can help inform decisions on services that shape your community, such as healthcare, education and transport.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) runs the census in England and Wales and is independent from government. Your details are protected by law and information published is always anonymous. 

The census is a unique survey that happens every 10 years. It gives us a snapshot of all the people and households in England and Wales – the most detailed information we have about our society.

It’s important that you fill in your census questionnaire. Without the information you share, it’d be more difficult to understand your community’s needs and to plan and fund public services.

In one way or another, your information touches the lives of every single person living in England and Wales, whether it’s through using census information to plan new schools, doctors’ surgeries or bike lanes.

Because these things matter to us all, everyone needs to complete the census. Do not worry, government officials dealing with applications you’ve made or payments or services you receive cannot see it.

Census Day is Sunday 21 March 2021. You can fill yours in online as soon as you get your access code in the post. If your household circumstances change on Census Day, you can let the ONS know.

It’s important to fill in your census questionnaire because it gives us the most detailed information we have about our society. You must complete the census by law.

Everyone should have the support they need to fill in the census. If you, or anyone you know, needs help, there’s a wide range of support services available.

These include a contact centre that can give you help over the phone and guidance in a range of languages and accessible formats, including paper questionnaires and large print.

Census data helps inform funding decisions on public services in your area. Whether it’s planning new schools, doctors’ surgeries or bike lanes, the information you share has an impact on the lives of everyone living in England and Wales.

If you need help or have any questions, visit www.census.gov.uk


FAQs regarding the Census:

Q: Will the government use the information I share to identify me?
A: No. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) carries out the census in England and Wales. They will only ever publish anonymous information from the census. In fact, it’s a crime to share personal census information and anything you tell us is protected.

Q: How will the census make a difference to me?
A: The census makes a difference to everyone. It’s a once-in-a-decade chance to have your voice heard and help inform the future of your local area.

Q: What if I do not identify with the census options?
A: The census asks you about your ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, religion and national identity. It’s up to you to decide how you would like to answer each question. Do it in the way that you feel best represents you.

Q: Could information I share affect my benefits or immigration status?
A: No. The information you share in the census cannot be used to influence benefit claims, a residency application, immigration status or your taxes. The ONS is independent from government. This means officials dealing with payments or services you receive cannot see your census information.

Q: What if I cannot fill in my census questionnaire online?
A: Some people will find this challenging, that’s why there is help on offer with a wide range of support services.

Services include:

  • guidance and support in many languages and formats
  • help over the phone, in a web chat or on social media
  • a paper version of the questionnaire, if you prefer
  • accessible census guidance, for example, in braille

Q: Why is the census asking me about my gender and sexual orientation?
A: This census asks voluntary questions about sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time. This is to give us more accurate information on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations. This will help organisations combat any inequalities these groups face and show where services are needed. They will only ask people aged16 years and over these questions. If you do not feel comfortable identifying on the same form as the rest of your household, you can request an individual census questionnaire and answer separately.

Q: Can I help friends and family fill in the census?
A: The questionnaire has been designed as simple as possible. If a friend or family member needs support, help them if you can. Always fill in your own census first. You can also ask for help for yourself, or for someone else.

Q: What happens if I don't complete my questionnaire?
A: You could face prosecution, a hefty fine (up to £1000) and a criminal record.