About the census : The census during the coronavirus pandemic

The importance of the census in 2021

The census gives us information about households across England and Wales.

At the Office for National Statistics (ONS), we’ve used past census information to help us understand how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected people in different ways.

Census 2021 will give us fresh information to improve our understanding of the pandemic. It will also help to make sure that the services you use meet the needs of our changing society. This could include hospitals, schools, universities and job centres.

Census Day is Sunday 21 March 2021 and will continue to happen on that date.

Keeping the public and census staff safe

At the ONS, our main concern is the safety of the public and our staff. We want everyone to be safely counted during the census. To do this, we’re making sure that our plans are always in line with the latest government safety guidelines.

Census 2021 is a digital-first census, which means that we will be encouraging people to respond online if they can. You will be able to complete the census using any device, including your mobile phone or tablet.

If you need help, we’ve got it covered. We will have an online help area on our website and offer help by phone, webchat, email, social media or text message.

We’re also encouraging people to get help from friends and family to complete their census.

If it’s safe and within government guidelines, we will also be opening Census Support Centres to help people fill in their online questionnaire.

What to expect from our census field officers

After Census Day, at the end of March and into April, our census field officers will be visiting households from which we’ve not received a completed census form. They will encourage people to complete the census and help you to access further help if you need it. Our field officers will never need to enter your house.

Our field officers will be working in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit. They will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and working in line with government guidance.

To find out more about how we will be making sure Census 2021 is completed safely during the coronavirus pandemic, please visit the ONS website.