Census 2021 – what you need to know

Published 4 March 2021

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


The census is a survey that takes place every 10 years. It gives the Office of National Statistics (ONS) the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales.

The census asks questions about you, your household and your home. In doing so, it helps to build a detailed snapshot of our society. Information from the census helps the government and local authorities to plan and fund local services, such as education, doctors’ surgeries and roads.

It’s important that all households fill in their census questionnaire because it gives us the most detailed information we have about our society.  You must complete the census by law.


Without the information you share, it’d be more difficult to understand our community’s needs and plan and fund public services.


Ahead of Census Day (Sunday 21 March 2021), the ONS will send you a letter in the post with an access code and instructions.


You can do your census online as soon as you get yours. If your household circumstances change on Census Day, you can let the ONS know.


The ONS aim to make things as easy as possible for everyone, but if you need help taking part in the census, there’s a wide range of support services available.


You can request support for yourself, or someone else, including:


  • guidance and help in many languages and formats;
  • a paper version of the questionnaire, if you prefer; or
  • accessible census guidance, for example, in braille.

There is a help area on the census website. It covers everything from who to include on the questionnaire to how to answer each question.

If you cannot find what you need there, there’s a dedicated contact centre where census staff will be on hand to give help over the phone, in a web chat or on social media.

If you need help, visit www.census.gov.uk

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