Over the next week or so you will be sent a letter asking you to take part in the Census 2021 - the once-in-a-decade survey that gives the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.
Census day is on Sunday 21 March, but households will now be receiving letters explaining how to complete your forms. You will receive a 16-character access code which you will need to complete the census. Remember not to share this code with anyone else.
If you don’t receive your letter in the next couple of weeks, please call the census contact centre on 0800 141 2021. You can also request a paper questionnaire if you’d prefer to complete your census that way.
For more information, and to find out how to get help, visit census.gov.uk or call the contact centre on 0800 141 2021.
Why should I take part?
The census helps us understand what our society needs now and what it will likely need in the future. The information you give helps decide how services are planned and funded in your local area. This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, housing or new bus routes. Charities also use census information to help get the funding they need. Businesses use it to decide where to set up, which creates job opportunities.
It asks questions about you and your household to build a picture of all of us. It looks at who we are and how we live. There’s no other survey that gives as much information about our society and future needs.
How long will it take?
The census will take around 10 minutes to complete. It’s easy to do and can be done on any device, including a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
How can I get help to complete my questionnaire?
The help pages at census.gov.uk explain how you can get help. These include general guidance, language assistance and a wide range of accessible formats including video and audio guides (English and Welsh). You can also phone the contact centre on 0800 141 2021.
What happens if I don't complete my questionnaire?
You are required to complete the census by law. If you do not fill in the census, a census officer will contact you and encourage you to complete it. They will help you access any support you need to fill in your form.
If you still don't return or submit a completed census, you will be committing a crime and could face prosecution, which may lead to a fine of up to £1,000 plus court costs.
Your data and security
The personal information you give the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is protected by law and you cannot be identified in the statistics published.
Personal information is any information that could allow you to be identified, for example your name, address or date of birth. This is not shared with anyone.
Your census record is kept secure for 100 years and only then can it be seen by future generations. Find out more.