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What is the

The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. The Census 2021 aims to count everyone and will help to decide how services are planned and funded in your community.

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. We ran our last census in 2011 and we’re now getting ready for the next one in 2021. 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.


The census rehearsal

The census rehearsal will help us make sure our processes, systems and services are running smoothly and ready for the real thing. It will take place in October 2019. We’ve chosen four different local authority areas in England and Wales – Carlisle, Ceredigion, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, which together represent a good cross-section of the country.

It’s a mix of urban and rural locations, a variety of ethnic groups, different levels of internet and mobile connectivity, as well as areas with student populations and second homes.


For the 2019 Let’s Count! programme, we are only inviting schools within one of our four chosen rehearsal areas to take part. The full programme will be available in England and Wales in 2021 and you can register to take part here.

Register now
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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 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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