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What is the census?

The census took place on Sunday 21 March 2021. It is a survey that happens every 10 years and gives us a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales. This helps to plan and fund public services in your area.

There’s no other survey that gives as much detail about us and the society we live in.

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The census is the most complete source of information about our population. Held every 10 years, it’s been giving a detailed picture of our society since 1801.

The information we receive is vitally important to local authorities and community groups, as well as to the government, businesses and academics.

Census data helps these groups to understand the needs of our society, now and in the future. It also helps with planning and resource allocation, while providing a snapshot for future generations to look back on.

What happens next?

Turning the information collected from the census into published statistics is a big task with many steps. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been working hard through all these steps. They do this to make sure the statistics are high quality and represent the whole population, not just those who completed the questionnaire. This means that census data users can trust the statistics when using them as a basis for decisions.

First census results will be in early summer 2022, with the population announcement for England and Wales. Read more about the steps the ONS is taking in Census 2021–the count is done, the data is in, so what happens next? on the ONS blog site.

Access local census data with Nomis

You can personalise your lessons with local data from past censuses. To explore and download this data you can use the ONS’s database website, Nomis. You can then generate colourful pie charts and bar charts with our free chart-generation tool.

Find out more

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