The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for planning and running Census 2021. The census is a survey that happens every 10 years and gives us a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales. It is a huge project that takes many years of organisation and development. We are working hard to ensure that all the stages of the census run smoothly.
Our Census news page provides the latest updates on progress towards Census 2021. You can find out more about the design of the census, what we have done to develop the questions for 2021 and any upcoming events for Census 2021.
The following table explains the important milestones that we are aiming to meet. These milestones are crucial aspects of producing and running the census successfully.
Using the following information, you can see what stage of census development we are working on currently. The dates for these objectives are based on our current projections and might change as we progress.
|Census Collection rehearsal and evaluation||February 2020||A public facing test of the online and paper channels, and field force, at scale. An evaluation of the rehearsal will be published.²||Successfully completed|
|Census Regulations in force||June 2020 (dependent on census order approval date)||Delivering the legislative process||Successfully completed|
|Census processing and outputs rehearsal||July 2020||A test of the processing and outputs channels at scale||Successfully completed|
|Census processing and outputs rehearsal evaluation||August 2020||An internal evaluation of the processing and output rehearsal||Successfully completed|
|Statistical Design for Census 2021||October 2020||The end to end statistical design for census 2021 is published.³ alongside a summary overview.⁴||Successfully completed|
|Operational planning response to the coronavirus (COVID-19)||October 2020||The potential impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for Census 2021 and the design changes and contingency plans made in response.⁵||Successfully completed|
|Census 2021 webinar series||November to December 2020||Sharing our plans and providing opportunities to ask questions and give feedback.⁶||Successfully completed|
|Census end-to-end testing||November 2020 to January 2021||The final major testing period for all census collection systems||Successfully completed|
|Census operationally ready||February 2021||Everything in place ready to start census collection||Successfully completed|
|Field force ready for deployment||March 2021||All our field force staff complete their training and are ready for deployment||Successfully completed|
|Census letters sent to all households and communal establishments||February 2021 – Communal Establishments|
March 2021 – Households
|Start dates for mailing out paper contact materials||Successfully completed|
|Census Day||Sunday 21 March 2021||Successfully completed|
|Census Field Operation||March to May 2021||The census field force are deployed to visit people who have not yet responded, to offer help and encourage people to take part.||Successfully completed|
|Census Coverage Survey||May to June 2021||We conduct a short survey to find out how many people we have missed and how many people have been counted more than once in the census.|
|Publish draft of the outputs schedule||July 2021||We publish a draft timetable of the various outputs of data from the census.|
|Census Quality Survey||July to September 2021||We conduct a follow-up survey with a small sample of households to estimate response error|
|Publish full details of the outputs release schedule||February 2022||We publish the full details of the timetable of outputs|
|National Statisticians Accreditation of census outputs||February 2022||We submit the census outputs to the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) to ensure we are complying with the code of practice for statistics. This assures the quality of our statistics and makes sure we are providing value to users.|
|Publication of initial findings||March 2022||We publish the initial findings from the census.|
|Final release of outputs||March 2023||We release all census data outputs for England and Wales.|
Download this table.xls .csv
"*" All dates are subject to change as census work progresses.