Census 2021

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Ready, steady, census

The decennial census is almost upon us.

Households across Barrow-in-Furness will soon be asked to take part in the nationwide survey of housing and the population. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

Information from the digital-first census will help decide how services are planned and funded in your local area. This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, housing or new bus routes.

Households will receive a letter with a unique access code in the post, allowing them to complete their questionnaire online. Paper questionnaires will be available on request. Census day is March 21. For more information, visit census.gov.uk/

Everyone will benefit from Census 2021

Households across Barrow-in-Furness will be asked to take part in Census 2021 this spring.

The census, run by the Office for National Statistics, 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 ten years since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

Understanding the needs of the nation helps everyone from central government to organisations, such as councils and health authorities, plan and fund public services across England and Wales. Census outputs inform where billions of pounds of public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health – on cycle routes, schools and dental surgeries.

Information from the census is also important in helping lots of other people and organisations do their work.

Charities and voluntary organisations often use it as evidence to get funding. It helps businesses to understand their customers and, for example, decide where to open new shops. Plus, those doing research, like university students and people looking into their family history, use census data. It provides important information on population diversity, allowing organisations to know whether they are meeting their responsibilities and triggering action where necessary.

Census 2021 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.

“The census provides a unique snapshot of our communities,” Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at ONS, said. “It benefits everyone. Based on the information you give, it ensures millions of pounds are invested in emergency services, mental health care, school places, hospital beds, houses, roads, GP’s and dentist’s services.

“No-one should miss out. Everyone can complete on online with a new search-as-you-type ability and paper forms for those who need them.”

Census day will be on March 21, but households will soon receive letters with online codes explaining how they can take part. 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.

For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit census.gov.uk/

How will people complete the Census?

Each household in England and Wales will be invited to take part in Census 2021. Census 2021 is “digital-first” meaning people will primarily be encouraged to complete the census online. Therefore, an estimated 90% of households will receive a census invitation pack in the post. This pack includes an access code that enables online completion of the household questionnaire. The remaining 10% of households will receive a paper version of the questionnaire as part of their invitation pack. We’ll send these paper questionnaires in areas where we’ve identified residents are more likely to need them.

Though online participation in the census is encouraged, anyone can request for a paper version of the questionnaire to be posted to them by calling the free helpline or from Census field staff. The online census caters for any number of people in a household. Whereas, if more than five people want to complete the paper version, they’ll need an additional continuation form. It’s easy to request these. It’s also possible to request an individual questionnaire if people would like to give answers separately from others in the same household.

Data Protection and Privacy

The safety of everyone’s information is our top priority.

Electronic data will be handled on systems securely managed to UK government standards and within the ONS’s control. Paper forms will be securely scanned and passed to the ONS by a contractor meeting the ONS’s security requirements.

When the ONS publishes statistics from the census, they’re completely anonymous. We do not include any personal information and individuals cannot be identified via census data. Personal census information is protected by law. It’s a crime for anyone to share it.

Government departments dealing with any applications the public have made, or any payments or services they receive, cannot see their census information. For example, it cannot be used to influence benefit claims, a residency application, immigration status or taxes. Private organisations and individuals such as landlords will not have access to personal information.

Personal information will not be used to sell the public anything or to find individuals. In turn, we’ll never sell census information.

We’ll keep census records anonymous for 100 years. Only then can they be viewed by future generations, for example, by those interested in family history. We will always keep the record secure.

Armed forces veterans to be counted in Census 2021

The decennial census is almost upon us and, for the first time, people will be able to say if they are a veteran of the armed forces.

The census, run by the Office for National Statistics, 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.

Among the new questions this time is one asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, to support commitments made by central and local government under the Armed Forces Covenant - the deal between the country and those who served it. Anyone who has served in the armed forces for at least one day is classed as a veteran.

“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 ONS, said.

“This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, schools and new transport routes. That’s why it is so important everyone takes part, including those who have previously served in the armed forces, 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.”

One of the greatest challenges in addressing need is knowing where it is in the first place. Therefore, a better understanding of the numbers, locations and age ranges of our armed forces veterans will help the Government, NHS and service charity sectors target resources and expertise where they are needed most.

The Royal British Legion led a campaign for the inclusion of the new question.

Charles Byrne, director general of The Royal British Legion, said: “The inclusion of a military question within the Census, added after The Royal British Legion’s successful campaign, will significantly improve our understanding of the Armed Forces community which up until now has been limited.  

“This is something we have been striving towards for many years. The RBL believes as many as 1 in 10 people in the UK are members of the Armed Forces Community but there is currently very little definitive information about where they are located or what their needs may be. This question will have a huge impact on service personnel, veterans and their families well into the future as it will ensure that we, along with other charities and service providers, can deliver the best service possible to them when and where it is needed most.

“We would urge all members of the UK Armed Forces Community, both regular and reservists, to record their status as a veteran in the upcoming census.”

The UK's Strategy for our Veterans committed the government to making the country the best place in the world to be a veteran. Having a clear understanding of the veteran population is a major part of achieving this ambition. 

Minister for Defence, People and Veterans, Johnny Mercer added: “I urge all ex-service personnel to take advantage of the opportunity to identify as a veteran in the upcoming census. 

"Better data means better support and the census is a key step in ensuring that public services support veterans in the best way possible."

The census, taking place on 21 March 2021, will shed light on the needs of different groups and communities, and the inequalities people are experiencing, ensuring the big decisions facing the country following the pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible.

Census 2021 will be the first run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code in March, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets. Paper questionnaires will also be available on request, while there will be lots of support available for those who need it.

Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

For more information about the census, visit census.gov.uk.

To arrange broadcast or print interviews, please contact Media Relations on 0845 604 1858 or 0203 684 5070 or email Media.Relations@ons.gov.uk