For Census 2021, we’ll be providing a mix of ‘ready-made’ tables, alongside the ability for users to ‘Build Their Own’ tables using a new Flexible Dissemination System on the ONS Website.

The 'Initial view on Census 2021 Output content design' consultation assessed users’ requirements for this type of tool. Feedback highlighted that the anticipated improvements around the timeliness and flexibility of Census 2021 outputs are the main drivers for the support of this dissemination approach.

This flexible dissemination approach is enabled through new, dynamic statistical disclosure control methodology in order to protect data confidentiality.

The combination of additional flexibility alongside ready-made tables, similar to some of those produced in 2011, should improve the overall user experience. We’ve begun work on determining the ways in which users will be able to access these outputs. We’re also involving users in the research and testing of those products. If you want to get involved, please contact us at to let us know.

We’ll continue to engage with users to inform our proposals as we move towards a more formal consultation on Output Specifications, which is planned for Spring/Summer 2021. We’ll publish the agreed specifications as part of the Outputs Prospectus in Autumn 2021, together with a release schedule.

As with previous censuses, we’ll also make commissioned tables available upon request via the Census Customer Services.

What we’ve done so far

The ONS is developing its web systems with the aim of implementing a more flexible dissemination system for Census 2021. A number of prototypes are being tested using a range of census data and we’ve installed artificial data in versions that we use for public demonstrations. Prototyping forms a significant part of a wider set of research tools that we’re using to understand and determine how we’ll make the data available to users.

Alongside the data tables, we’re also exploring other products that we can provide to give different users access to Census 2021 data, including data visualisations, area profiles and analytical outputs.

More information

If you need more information about our plans for providing data from Census 2021, please contact us at with your queries.