A number of outputs will be made available from Census 2021 data. These include:

  • tables

  • analysis

  • visualisations

  • supporting services and information

Our aims

We believe that the cost and effort of taking a census is only worthwhile when the results are provided to users in ways that allow them to use the information to improve the decisions they make.

We have been exploring ways of making Census 2021 outputs more timely, flexible and accessible, while maintaining the high levels of quality and confidentiality of information.  Our vision for census outputs is to enable users to get the most value out of census data.

We aim to achieve National Statistics accreditation for all our outputs.

Timely

We aim to release the first results for Census 2021 data on the population of England and Wales in late Spring 2022. Following that, we intend to release all main results within two years of census.

We are aiming to release all main Census 2021 data in half the time of previous censuses. This step change is made possible by new advances in technology, including the automation of statistical disclosure checks and the introduction of our new flexible dissemination system.

We have provided more detail about the release of Census 2021 products on our release plans pages, and timelines on our milestones page.

Flexible

For Census 2021 outputs we are introducing a new system that will allow users to build-their-own data tables, alongside the traditional set of prescribed ready-made tables. This new functionality gives users flexibility in three main ways, which include:

  • letting them choose whether to select a ready-made table or to build-their-own

  • putting them in control of what census variables to combine when they are building their own tables

  • giving them the ability to get more detail for smaller areas than was possible in 2011 where that does not risk the confidentiality of respondents

Accessible

Our release plans cover a wide range of standard, bespoke, restricted and commissioned data products. We have provided Information about what we plan to include in these individual outputs on our product pages.

Each of our Census 2021 data products will be accompanied by supporting information, or metadata, that will help show users how to understand and interpret the statistics.

We are also developing a range of data visualisation tools to create richer representations of census data that can help depict different stories the data tell.

We are continuing to work with users to determine what outputs and analysis is required, particularly around the new topic of armed forces veterans, and the new voluntary topics of sexual orientation and gender identity. Detailed information on the development of the Census 2021 questions can be found on our Census 2021 question development pages.

Quality and confidentiality

One of our highest priorities is to ensure the quality of census outputs and the methods we use to keep individual's information safe.

In October 2020, we published our statistical design for Census 2021 in England and Wales. In the report we detail how we intend to ensure Census 2021 results are:

  • high quality

  • fit for purpose

  • not misleading

  • based on appropriate data and methods

A list of methodology assurance papers submitted to our external Methodology Assurance Review Panel (MARP) have been published and represent the ONS's methodology at the time of each submittal. Of particular interest is the paper EAP125 on Statistical disclosure control (SDC) for Census 2021 (Word, 303KB). This paper outlines our approach to protecting the confidentiality of individual respondents to Census 2021.

Working with Scotland and Northern Ireland

We are responsible for carrying out the census and producing outputs for England and Wales.  We are also responsible for collating data from across the four nations of the UK to produce UK outputs.

We continue to work closely with our colleagues at National Records of Scotland and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency to ensure comparability of results, where possible.  Find out more about how the UK census offices are working to harmonise our outputs on the UK Census data pages.

More information

We would like to keep you involved with our plans and proposals for Census 2021 outputs. Information about upcoming events, consultations, user research, publications and subscribing for email updates can be found on the how to get involved pages.  

If you have any questions about Census 2021 outputs, email census.outputs@ons.gov.uk.

Read more about the outputs from previous census.