Census 2021 statistics are published from information collected about people and their households. We group data together based on who the information is about, for example individuals or households.

Usual resident

A usual resident is anyone who on Census Day, 21 March 2021, was in the UK and had stayed or intended to stay in the UK for a period of 12 months or more or had a permanent UK address and was outside the UK and intended to be outside the UK for less than 12 months.


A person is an individual. They are usually classified as a usual resident unless otherwise stated.

Household Reference Person

A person who serves as a reference point, mainly based on economic activity, to characterise a whole household.


A household is defined as:

  • one person living alone, or
  • a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities and share a living room or sitting room, or dining area

This includes:

  • all sheltered accommodation units in an establishment (irrespective of whether there are other communal facilities), and
  • all people living in caravans on any type of site that is their usual residence; this will include anyone who has no other usual residence elsewhere in the UK

A household must contain at least one person whose place of usual residence is at the address. A group of short-term residents living together is not classified as a household, and neither is a group of people at an address where only visitors are staying.


A family is a group of people who are either:

  • married, civil partnered or cohabiting couple with or without children (the children do not need to belong to both members of the couple)
  • a lone parent with children
  • a married, civil partnered or cohabiting couple with grandchildren but where the parents of those grandchildren are not present
  • a single or couple grandparent with grandchildren but where the parents of those grandchildren are not present

Communal Establishment

A managed communal establishment is a place that provides managed full-time or part-time supervision of residential accommodation.

Examples include:

  • university halls of residence and boarding schools
  • care homes, hospitals, hospices and maternity units
  • hotels, guest houses, hostels and bed and breakfasts, all with residential accommodation for seven or more guests
  • prisons and other secure facilities
  • Single Living Accommodation (SLA) in military bases
  • staff accommodation
  • religious establishments

It does not include sheltered accommodation, serviced apartments, nurses’ accommodation, and houses rented to students by private landlords. These are households.


A dwelling is a unit of accommodation that may be empty or being lived in, for example houses or flats. They are usually made up of one household, but those with more than one household are shared and called a “shared dwelling”.

If a dwelling has no usual residents living in them, for example they are empty after being sold, these are called “unoccupied dwellings” but may be used by short-term residents or visitors on Census Day, 21 March 2021, for example holiday homes.

Household (UPRN)

Each property in Great Britain is assigned a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN). The UPRN is the unique identifier for every address in Great Britain. It provides a comprehensive, complete, consistent identifier throughout a property's life cycle – from planning permission through to demolition. Most people know their address, so we are able to use this as a geographic reference when collecting data. This reference can then be related to any geographic unit used for statistical production, such as a local authority district or electoral ward. The UPRN is numeric and can be up to 12 digits. The UPRN provides a fixed, non-moving point for the life of a property which makes geography allocations stable and unchanging (subject to boundary changes).

Non-UK-born short-term resident

A census short-term UK resident is anyone born outside of the UK who, on 21 March 2021, had stayed or intended to stay in the UK for a period of three months or more but less than 12 months.