Census 2021 is coming

If you need help with completing your Census 2021 survey form, our three Centres will be open, and our staff available, by appointment. Please contact us to arrange a time for you, telephone 0161 833 0377


In March, all households in England and Wales will be asked to take part in the 2021 census – the once-in-a-decade survey that provides the most accurate estimate of our communities.

The census is conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK’s national statistical institute which is independent from central government. Census 2021 will highlight areas of deprivation and show the ethnic make-up of the country, as well as providing information on our living arrangements, health, education and the jobs we do.

Anonymised information from the census will inform policy at a local and national level for years to come. This includes decisions such as where new doctors’ surgeries, housing and bus routes are planned.

Filling in the census is a legal obligation for everyone, and all Chinese communities in England and Wales need to participate, including Chinese international students. There is lots of support available for anyone who needs help completing their census questionnaire, including information booklets and assistance via the free call centre in both Cantonese and Mandarin.

Catherine East, an ONS community adviser for the Chinese community in South Birmingham, said:

“Census will enable the government to identify any unique challenges that the Chinese community might face, as well as making sure resources are accurately and fairly distributed, from funding for schools, healthcare and housing to employment opportunities. By taking part and encouraging others to do the same, you will help make sure the Chinese community gets the services you need and for the years to come.”

Cissie Tsang, an ONS Chinese community adviser in Newcastle, said:

“Whilst this hasn’t been possible in 2021, let’s put our collective energies together to complete the Census and support the Chinese community to complete it. Now more than ever, we need to understand the Chinese community and its needs and what it might need in the future as the information collected helps plan and fund services in our local area.”

How to take part

Taking part in the census is very straightforward. Before Census Day, the ONS will send every household a pack through the post. It contains an access code which lets people log in to the online questionnaire.

Everyone will then be asked to respond to a series of questions about themselves and their household. The questionnaire should be filled in on Sunday 21 March 2021, or as soon as possible afterwards.

Census support

The ONS will be offering a range of support services to make sure everyone can part in the census. This includes an online help section on their website at www.census.gov.uk/help, and a free public contact centre to give help over the phone, via webchat, webform, email and SMS. The number for the contact centre is 0800 141 2021 (for those living in England) or 0800 169 2021 (for those living in Wales).

Anyone who would rather not fill in their questionnaire online can order a paper questionnaire in standard or Large Print format. There will also be a braille guidance booklet (including information about the census and a braille translation of the household paper questionnaire) and an easy read information leaflet. These will be available from the contact centre nearer to census time.

The online questionnaire is compatible with most assistive technologies. This means that anyone using supportive software such as screen readers or magnifying technology should find the online questionnaire compatible with their programme.

Keeping your data safe

The census has a proud 200-year history of keeping the personal information people share on their questionnaire safe.

The ONS has a strict security regime that follows government standards. This includes physical and IT security measures to protect everyone’s data, covering people, processes and technology.

When statistics from Census 2021 are published, they won’t contain personal information. Nobody will be able to identify any individual from the answers they’ve shared.

The ONS keeps census information safe and confidential by law for 100 years. After that future generations can see the information, for example, those interested in family history.

Census 2021 is a great opportunity to make sure everyone’s counted when decisions are made about services for our communities. By taking part, each of us can help shape the future.