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Census 2021

The census is a survey that happens every 10 years. The first one was held in 1801. It gives a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales. The census is unique, there’s simply nothing else that gives so much detail about us and the society we live in.

All kinds of organisations, from local authorities to charities, use the information to help provide the services we all need, including transport, education and healthcare. Without the census, it would be much more difficult to do this.

By taking part, you’ll be helping make sure you and your community get the services needed now and in the future.

Here are some common questions and answers you may have about the Census:

When should I fill in my census questionnaire?

Census Day is Sunday 21 March – but you can fill yours in as soon as you get your access code in the post. Your answers should be about the people who usually live in your household on this date – even if you’re filling it in before then. 

Do I have to take part?

If you live in England and Wales, you must take part in the census. Census information helps inform how billions of pounds of public funding is spent. By taking around 10 minutes per person to fill in the census questionnaire, you will help make sure your community gets the services needed now and in the future.

Will the government use the information I share to identify me?

No. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) carries out the census in England and Wales. They only ever publish anonymous information from the census. In fact, it’s a crime to share personal census information and anything you tell them is protected.

What if I cannot fill in my census questionnaire online?

There are some people who will find this challenging. That’s why there are a wide range of support services. They will make it easy for you, whatever your needs.

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

For more information visit