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Census 2021

The census is happening on 21 March 2021. It's a survey of all households in England and Wales, and you must complete it by law or you could face a fine. Here's what you need to do. 

What is the census?

The census is a survey that's run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It happens every 10 years. Every household in England and Wales completes a questionnaire. The answers are then used to help make decisions about services in your local area, for example transport or healthcare. 

It's a legal requirement to complete the census. If you don't, you could be fined. You should complete the census by Sunday 21 March 2021.

How do I complete the census?

Every household in England and Wales will get a letter through the post telling them how to complete the census.

This is the first time that everyone will be asked to complete the census questionnaire online if they can. You'll be given details of how to access the questionnaire online and submit your answers in your letter, including a unique and secure access code. 

The ONS estimates that it should take about 10 minutes to answer the questions about your household, and 10 minutes to answer questions about the people who live there.

What if I can't complete the census online?

If you can't complete the census online, you can ask for a paper version of the questionnaire to be sent to you. 

You can request this on the census website or by calling 0800 141 2021 in England or 0800 169 202 in Wales. Staff are available to help you from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturday (closed on Sundays). 

On census weekend (20-21 March), lines are open from 8am to 8pm. 

Is there any support available?

There is a lot of free support available to help you complete the census. The best place to start is the census website

The Age UK Advice Line can also help answer questions about the census. Call free on 0800 678 1602, 8am to 7pm, every day. 

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Last updated: Apr 15 2024

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