Making sure you count - the national census is coming

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

The census is a survey that happens every 10 years and gives us a snapshot of all the people and households in England and Wales. It tells us who is in our community, what our needs are now and what they are likely to be in the future. 

It is your chance to provide the information that makes sure your community is represented. By sharing this information you can help make a difference to the funding of future health, social care and support services for local people. 

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 in England and Wales. And you'll be able to take part online or ask for a copy in a different way.

Who runs the census?

The census is run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). They are  independent from government, although do report to Parliament.

What does the census ask?

The questions asked help to create an in-depth picture of our society. And identify important trends that’ll help organisations plan services and allocate funding in the future.

They ask about :

  • individuals, such as their name, age, sex , sexual orientation and marital status
  • households, such as family relationships
  • the homes we live in, such as their location, number of people living there and what facilities they have
  • service in the armed forces

It is up to you to decide how you would like to answer each question.

But for questions about things like ethnicity, religion, gender identity and sexuality, the ONS encourage you to complete the questionnaire how you feel best represents you.

Remember - nobody in the government or any other organisations will know what answers you put. 

Helping improve services for LGBTQ+ communities

This year the census will include questions on gender identity and sexual orientation - to give better information on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations.

It will help organisations combat inequalities and provide better services to LGBTQ+ communities. These questions are voluntary.

You can ask for an individual census questionnaire if you don't want other people in your household to see your answers.

How do I take part?

The ONS will send you a letter with an access code. You can then visit their secure website and enter your access code to get started.

If you can, offer help to family and friends who need support to fill in the form.

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.

Find out more

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