Census 2021

All about the 2021 Census, when it is, why it is important, how your data will be used and when to expect the first release of census information.

The census is a survey that is carried out every ten years. It gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in the district.


On 28 June 2022 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will publish the first results from Census 2021.

First results

The first results will include five datasets containing population and household estimates for England and Wales, at local authority level.  

They will also publish two statistical bulletins and a report on quality and methods.

You can find further details on the first results release page of the ONS website.

Later releases of results

In autumn to winter 2022 the ONS will be releasing topic summary results.

A topic summary is a set of data and supporting commentary, grouped by a similar theme. The topics will be:

  • demography and migration
  • ethnic group, national identity, language, and religion
  • health, disability, and unpaid care
  • housing
  • labour market and travel to work
  • sexual orientation and gender identity
  • education
  • UK armed forces veterans

Details of later releases can be viewed on the proposed outputs and release plans pages on the ONS website.

Why it is important

The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. The information you give helps decide how services are planned and funded in your local area. This could mean things like doctors' surgeries, housing or new bus routes.

It asks questions about you and your household to build a picture of all of us. It looks at who we are and how we live. There's no other survey that gives as much information about our society and future needs.

Charities also use census information to help get the funding they need. Businesses use it to decide where to set up, which creates job opportunities.

The ONS has published some census stories showing how different organisations use census information to plan services.

Veterans and the census

Former armed forces personnel were, for the first time, be able to identify themselves as veterans in the 2021 Census.

Keeping your data safe

No one can identify you in the published census statistics. Your census record is kept confidential for 100 years and only then can future generations see it. Find more information about how your data is kept safe on the census website.

The ONS have also produced an animated video about keeping your data safe that you can watch on YouTube. This provides information about data and security for Census 2021 and explains how the ONS protects your personal information.


Additional information

The latest information on the 2021 Census can be found on the Census 2021 official website.

Census milestones - the different stages involved in organising Census 2021 in England and Wales.

ONS Purple Plaques scheme which aims to recognise 22 people who have made an outstanding contribution to their community.

2011 Census - Office for National Statistics

2001 Census - Office for National Statistics

Census data 1801-1991 - For UK censuses 1801-1991, printed data reports are available. A small amount of data is available online from the 1991 Census

A vision of Britain through time - collection of maps, data, much drawn from the census reports and other resources