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About the 2021 census

The census is a national survey that takes place every 10 years to count households and population in England and Wales. Census Day, 21 March, has now passed. You must fill in your census if you haven’t already.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) organises the census in partnership with local authorities, including South Gloucestershire Council.

Why census data is collected 

Information from the census will help decide how services are planned and funded in your local area. This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, housing, and new bus routes. By taking part, you will be helping make sure you and your community get the services needed now and in the future.

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

This includes:

  • charities and voluntary organisations using it as evidence to get funding
  • helping businesses to understand their customers (for example, decide where to open new shops)
  • researchers (like university students and people looking into their family history)

It provides data on population diversity, allowing organisations to know whether they are meeting their responsibilities and taking action where necessary.

Census results will be available within 12 months. You cannot be identified in the statistics published. Your personal information is protected by law and is kept secure for 100 years.

Find out more about your Census data and security.

Moving the census online

Census 2021 is the first census to be mainly online. It is easy to complete the census online using your computer, tablet or smartphone

ONS have guidance in a range of languages and accessible formats.

Completing your census form

Households will have received a letter with an access code in early March explaining how to complete the census form online.

If you do not have a computer, tablet or smartphone, you can book a library computer. Find out which libraries are open and how to book your free session or call 01454 865022.

If you need someone to help you complete your census form on your behalf, call 01454 865022 to book an appointment with a census advisor. You will need your access code to do this.

You can request a paper questionnaire if you would prefer to complete the census that way.

You must complete the census by law

It’s important all of us fill in our census forms. That’s why it’s a legal requirement to take part. If you do not, or if you supply false information, you could be fined up to £1,000. Some questions however will be clearly labelled as optional, it is not an offence if you do not answer these.

More information on the 2021 Census can be found on the Office for National Statistics website.

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