The census is a survey that happens every 10 years and gives the Office for National Statistics (ONS) a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales. The census takes place on Sunday 21 March 2021.
Your answers to the census questions will help organisations make decisions on planning and funding public services in your area, including transport, education and healthcare.
The last census took place in 2011. Many people and organisations used information from the 2011 Census in a variety of ways.
For example, Bristol City Council used it to inform decisions on how to fund local housing improvements. It was also essential for the charity Redbridge Council for Voluntary Services to help people from ethnic minority groups learn more about dementia.
To read more about the benefits that information from the 2011 Census helped to create, visit the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website.
The census gives the ONS information about households across England and Wales.
At the Office for National Statistics (ONS), they have used past census information to help them understand how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected people in different ways.
Census 2021 will give fresh information to improve the understanding of the pandemic. It will also help to make sure that the services you use meet the needs of our changing society. This could include hospitals, schools, universities and job centres.
Census Day is Sunday 21 March 2021 and will continue to happen on that date.
At the ONS, our main concern is the safety of the public and the staff. They want everyone to be safely counted during the census. To do this, they are making sure that their plans are always in line with the latest government safety guidelines.
Census 2021 is a digital-first census, which means that they will be encouraging people to respond online if they can. You will be able to complete the census using any device, including your mobile phone or tablet.
If you need help, they have got it covered. They will have an online help area on the website and offer help by phone, webchat, email, social media or text message.
The Office for National statistics are also encouraging people to get help from friends and family to complete their census.
If it’s safe and within government guidelines, they will also be opening Census Support Centres to help people fill in their online questionnaire.
What if I don’t complete it?
After Census Day, at the end of March and into April, census field officers will be visiting households from which they have not received a completed census form. They will encourage people to complete the census and help people to access further help if you need it. Field officers will never need to enter your house.
Field officers will be working in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit. They will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and working in line with government guidance.