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.
Households across Oxfordshire will be asked on 21 March to take part in the nationwide survey of housing and the population. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941. Census 2021 will be the first run predominantly online, allowing residents to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets. Paper questionnaires will be available for those who need it.
Information from the digital-first Census will help decide how services are planned and funded in our local area. This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, housing or new bus routes. 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. Plus, 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.
Households will soon receive letters with online codes explaining how they can take part. 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 voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.