Topic summaries

A topic summary is a set of data and supporting commentary, grouped by a similar theme. The majority of the datasets that we will release as part of each topic summary will contain data about just one variable.

We plan to release topic summaries in the following order:

  • demography and migration

  • ethnic group, national identity, language, and religion

  • UK armed forces veterans

  • housing

  • labour market and travel to work

  • sexual orientation and gender identity

  • education

  • health, disability, and unpaid care

The order has changed slightly from what we announced in our response to the Census 2021 Outputs consultation. As our timetable is planned around user need, it is and will remain subject to change. In accordance with the Code of Practice for official statistics, we will confirm final publication dates on the release calendar at least four weeks in advance.

We will publish the first topic summary in October and the last by the end of this year 2022.

Each of these datasets will contain information about the usual resident population of England and Wales. These datasets will not contain totals or subtotals.

Initially, we aim to make the topic summary datasets available down to Output Area (OA) level. As soon as it is practical, we plan to provide these datasets for other geographies, using the OA best-fit approach. Output Areas are the smallest geography for which we will make the standard outputs available. These are generally around 100 households in size.

Area profiles

Area profiles allow users to view statistics from across different topics for a particular area. These also allow users to compare local statistics for an area against national statistics.

We will create these dynamic area profiles using data from the topic summaries. As we release more data from the topic summaries over time, the area profiles will develop to allow users to view more statistics for a particular area.

We aim to make area profiles available for a range of area types over time. These area profiles are similar in concept to those available within Nomis area reports

The variables and classifications to be included

We have detailed the variables and classifications we plan to include in the topic summaries in the corresponding tabs of the Topic summaries specifications spreadsheet.  

We are in the process of finalising these specifications. This spreadsheet represents our plans as of July 2022 and we will update it in summer 2022, as more information is confirmed.

Where to find the data

We will publish topic summary datasets and area profiles on the ONS website. Topic summary datasets will also be available from the Nomis website.

More information

If you need more information about our plans for Census 2021 topic summaries and area profiles, please contact us at

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