Borough Insight

Census 2021

Image: logo Census 2021

The census is coming, and it’s about you.

By taking part, you will help inform decisions about the services you and your community need, like doctors’ surgeries and new schools.

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

Whether it’s using census data to plan apprenticeship schemes, new bike lanes or nursery spaces, your information makes a difference to the life of every single person in England and Wales.

Because these things matter to all of us, everyone must complete the census.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) runs the census in England and Wales and is independent from government. Any information you share in the census is protected by law and the census only ever publishes anonymous information. Do not worry, government officials dealing with applications you’ve made or payments or services you receive cannot see it.

Ethnicity, religion and national identity
The ONS will ask you about your ethnicity, religion and national identity.

You can identify with your chosen background, religion and national identity. If you cannot find the option you require, you can use the search-as-you-type function.

Alternatively, you can request a paper questionnaire. That will allow to you write in the identity that you feel most accurately represents you.

Sexual orientation and gender identity
Census 2021 asks voluntary questions about sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time.

This is to give us more accurate information on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations. It will help organisations combat any inequalities these groups face and show where services are needed.

The ONS will only ask people aged 16 years and over these voluntary questions.

If you do not feel comfortable identifying on the same form as the rest of your household, you can request an individual census questionnaire and answer separately.

Armed Forces
For the first time, the census will ask if you’ve served in the UK Armed Forces.

The information you share will help understand the numbers, locations and ages of our armed forces community. This will show where resources and services are needed to make sure those who have served, and their families, are treated fairly.

You only need to answer this question if you are aged 16 years or above.

Census Day is Sunday 21 March. You can fill yours in online as soon as you get your access code in the post. If your household circumstances change on Census Day, you can let The Office for National Statistics (ONS) know.

Remember, it’s up to you to decide how you would like to answer each question. Do it in the way that you feel best represents you.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help or advice, visit




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