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Everyone will benefit from Census 2021

Date: 16 March 2021
Author: Cllr Robin Brown
Title: Finance & Resources Lead Member

Census day 2021 will take place this Sunday 21 March. Households across Richmond upon Thames should now have received letters with online codes allowing them to complete their census online.

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 our borough helps everyone from local and central government to local organisations, such as health authorities, plan and fund public services across England and Wales in the coming years. Census outputs inform where billions of pounds of public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health – on projects from cycle routes, schools to dental surgeries.

Emergency services across the UK use census statistics to allocate resources and plan services based on the local area’s characteristics. For instance, The Metropolitan Police use census statistics to know where to concentrate their crime prevention efforts and potential crime hotspots are mapped.

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.

In addition, 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. All these reasons show why it is critically important that everyone completes their census this Sunday, March 21.

Census 2021 will be the first to be 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 making it easier than ever before to complete the census.

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 a number of optional questions for those aged 16.

The results of Census 2021 will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, to be kept safe for future generations.

Information and advice on how to answer the questions.

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Updated: 19 October 2021