Census 2021

What is the census?

The census - which is run by the Office for National Statistics - is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales - the most detailed information we have about our society.

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.

Why do I need to complete the census?

Taking part in the census is your chance to help make sure you and your community get the services you need for the next 10 years and beyond.

Everyone in England and Wales must complete a census or be included on a census for the place where they’re living or staying.

You must complete the census by law or you could be fined up to £1,000.

Every householder at an address is responsible for completing a census questionnaire for their household. The householder should either answer the individual questions for all household members or make sure each member answers their own.

Some questions are clearly labelled as voluntary. It is not an offence if you do not answer these.

When is the census happening?

Census Day is Sunday 21 March 2021. Every household should complete the census on that day or as soon as possible after.

How do I complete the census?

Households should now have received a letter providing details on how to take part. It includes a unique 16-character access code, inviting you to complete the survey online.

Paper questionnaires are available on request.

How long will it take?

The census will take around 10 minutes to complete. However, it’s easy to do and can be done on any device, including a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Even though Census Day is Sunday 21 March 2021, you can fill yours in online as soon as you get your access code in the post.

What happens after Census Day?

At the end of March and into April, our census field officers will be visiting households that have not completed the survey. They will encourage people to complete the census and help you to access further help if you need it. Our field officers will never need to enter your house. Find out more about Census 2021 and coronavirus.

Initial findings are expected to be published in March 2022, with full data released in March 2023.

More information

For further details, please visit the Census website or call 0800 141 2021.

Warning signCoronavirus (COVID-19): We continue to provide services online and via telephone. However, we recognise that, in some cases, you will need an appointment with an officer so we offer limited pre-booked appointments at the Forum for urgent enquiries. You may experience longer waiting times or an online response due to increased demand on our services. Please call 01442 228000 and ask for the service you require. For council service updates and other advice, please see our COVID-19 page×