About the census : Past censuses in England and Wales
The census happens every 10 years and gives us a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales. There have been censuses for over 200 years.
The answers from past censuses give us a detailed snapshot of the population in one moment of time.
At the ONS, we keep census records secure for 100 years. Only then can future generations see them.
1961 Census Small Area Statistics
From September 2020 to August 2021, 2,800 volunteers made 5.5 million checks to help turn scans of the 1961 Census Small Area Statistics into digital tables.
This digitised data shows in detail how life in England and Wales changed dramatically between 1961 and 2011.
Using interactive maps, you can explore how areas compared with each other and see what changed in the 50 years up to 2011. Information includes:
- home ownership
- number of rooms in a household
- number of people in a household
- homes that had an inside toilet
- number of people aged 16 and over that were divorced
1921 Census records and completed household forms
In January 2022, The National Archives, working with the ONS and Findmypast, gave people online access to the records, including completed household forms, from the 1921 Census.
This information is of special interest because the country was then recovering from the impact of both the First World War and an influenza pandemic.
Taken on 19 June 2021, the 1921 Census collected more details than any previous census. It asked about:
- names of householders
- number of rooms
- place of work
- employer details
- divorce as an option for marital status
The 1921 Census will be the last release of census household returns for 30 years. This is because a fire in 1942 destroyed the household forms from the 1931 Census. Also, the outbreak of the Second World War meant that the 1941 Census never happened.
We aim to publish the first census results in early summer 2022.
Accessing historic census records and census data
If you want to access data for these censuses, rather than the records themselves, we can help you at the ONS.
While the personal information held on the forms remains confidential for 100 years, data for all censuses from 1801 to 2011 are available online or in printed reports. To find out more about how you can access these data, .