Census 2021

Households across Elmbridge will soon be asked to take part in Census 2021.

The census 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 decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

It will be the first run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets.

“A successful census will ensure everyone from local government to charities can put services and funding in the places where they are most needed”, Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics, said.

This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, schools and new transport routes. That’s why it is so important everyone takes part and we have made it easier for people to do so online on any device, with help and paper questionnaires for those that need them.”

Census day will be on 21 March, but households across the country will soon receive letters with online codes allowing them to take part from early March.

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 people whether they 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.

More information

What is the census?

The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. 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.

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.

When is it happening?

Census day is March 21. However, households will receive a letter in the post in early March, giving them details of how to take part in the mandatory survey. They will also receive a unique access code, inviting them to complete the survey online, although paper questionnaires are available on request.

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 it collects helps with decisions on the planning and funding of services in your area. This could include schools, doctors’ surgeries, emergency services or even local support groups.

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.

How long will it take?

The census will take around 10 minutes per person to complete. It’s easy to do and can be done on any device, including a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

Who should fill in the census?

The householder should fill in the census for the household. This is the person who owns or rents (or jointly owns or rents) the property, or the person who is responsible (or jointly responsible) for paying household bills and expenses.

If you’re the householder, you will have to answer a few questions about your household before moving on to questions about each individual. Anyone living in the household can fill in these questions on their own if they want to. You can also save the census and come back to finish it off later. In addition, anyone included in a household who wants to keep their information private can complete an individual questionnaire. They can request an individual access code online or through the contact centre.

Who do I include in the census questionnaire?

You should answer the individual questions in the Household Questionnaire for:

  • anyone who lives with you permanently or counts your address as their family home
  • people temporarily away from home, for example students or schoolchildren boarding away
  • people staying with you temporarily if they live in the UK and have no other address
  • people staying with you temporarily from outside of the UK who are staying in the country for three months or more There’s also a separate section to fill in on visitors – that is anyone staying with you overnight on Census Day: Sunday 21 March 2021.

Will someone visit my home during Census 2021?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for running the census in England and Wales.This will be a digital-first census and the ONS will be encouraging people to respond online if they can.

The census field operation, which follows up with people who haven’t yet completed their questionnaire and may need help, will be carried out without anyone ever needing to enter anyone’s home. All contacts with the public will be socially distanced and our field staff will be equipped with PPE in line with government guidance. The ONS will be following the government’s safety guidelines about the coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the census period.

When do I need to fill in my census?

Census 2021 asks everyone in England and Wales the same questions about the same day: Census Day, Sunday 21 March 2021. The information you provide needs to be about who usually lives in the household on Census Day. You can submit your questionnaire on Census Day or as soon as possible after. If you need to, you can complete your questionnaire before 21 March. If your household circumstances change on Census Day, you can let the Office for National Statistics (ONS) know.

I’ve lost my census letter. How do I get a new access code?

You can request a new access code to start a new census if you have lost or not received an access code. Visit the census website and choose to receive your new access code by post or text.

What if I don't speak English or Welsh?

Translation booklets are available to download. If your language is not represented, please contact the customer contact centre on 0800 141 2021.

How can I get help to complete my questionnaire?

The help pages on the census website 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 or visit one of our support centres offering assistance.

What happens if I don't complete my questionnaire?

You could face prosecution, a hefty fine (up to £1000) and a criminal record.

Please visit the census website for more information and any questions you have about the census.

Date published: 19 January 2021

Updated: 22 February 2021

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