Prepare to be counted on 21 March 2021
The census, run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 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 ten years since 1801, with the exception of 1941.
Understanding the needs of the nation helps everyone from central government to organisations such as councils and health services plan and fund public services across England and Wales. Census outputs inform where public funding is spent in areas like transport, education and health – on cycle routes, schools and dental surgeries.
Information from the census is also important in helping lots of other people and organisations do their work.
On a local level, our residents will also benefit. The census provides important information on population diversity, allowing local organisations such as the council to know whether they are meeting their responsibilities and triggering action where necessary.
Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: “The census provides a unique snapshot of our communities. It benefits everyone. Based on the information you give, it ensures millions of pounds are invested in emergency services, mental health care, school places, hospital beds, houses, roads, GPs and dentist’s services.
“No-one should miss out. Everyone can complete the census online with a new search-as-you-type functionality with paper forms available for those who need them.”
Jane Burns, executive director of corporate services for Cheshire East Council, said: “I cannot emphasise enough just how important it is that people complete the census when they are contacted by the ONS. The findings of the census benefit all of us and the information that we learn from this vital work will inform our service provision for the next ten years.”
Census Day will be on Sunday 21 March. People will soon be receiving postcards from the ONS advising them that it will be held on this date. 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 whether people 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.
For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit census.gov.uk/contact-us. The ONS have opened a free contact centre for the run-up to the census.