On 12 March 2021, we published the response to the Census 2021 Output Geography Policy, products and services consultation that took place between 5 November 2020 and 18 December 2020. The consultation gathered census users’ views on our plans for the dissemination of census statistics and our proposed Census Geography Policy. This policy focuses largely on our plans for maintaining small area geographies; Output Areas, Lower Layer Super Output Areas and Middle Layer Super Output Areas. We also set out our plans for producing geography products and services.
On 28 January 2021 we published How the ONS is ensuring Census 2021 will serve the public good: January 2021 progress update. The report provides an update on our progress to gain National Statistics accreditation and will be used as part of the evidence base by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) when assessing our compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.
- As part of the assessment, the OSR will hold a user engagement, to gather users and stakeholders' views and experiences of the 2021 Census for England and Wales. The OSR aim to publish their assessment in Autumn 2021 on the UK Statistics Authority website. We aim to publish an update on how we have responded to the OSR requirements on our National Statistics Accreditation web page, to keep users notified of our progress, by the end of 2021.
- At the end of the Phase 2 assessment period, the OSR will consider whether the England and Wales' Census 2021 can retain the badge of National Statistics accreditation. If we are successful, our accreditation will be confirmed before the first census outputs are released in 2022.
On 28 January 2021, the ONS published The Conduct of the 2021 and 2022 Censuses in the UK report. This report follows the announcement of Scotland's Census move to 2022 and is a statement of agreement between the National Statistician and the Registrars General for Scotland and Northern Ireland, aiming to enhance the extent of harmonisation that takes place across the UK Censuses in 2021 and 2022.
In January 2021, the ONS published its first of three Beta release 1961 Census Small Area Statistics tables. This release forms part of the series of projects to digitise historical census outputs and make them publicly available. The second and third stage of the release is expected by Autumn 2021.
In January 2021, the ONS published a third progress report, against the statement of agreement between the National Statistician and the Registrars General of Scotland and Northern Ireland. This report reflects the steps taken by the three census offices to harmonise on the different aspects of the censuses across the UK.
On 22 January 2021, the ONS published a statement on Census 2021 and how we are ensuring everyone can be safely counted in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In January 2021, the ONS published the final report in our series of question development reports for Census 2021. There are reports available on a range of topics:
In November 2020, we published free educational resource programmes for children: Let's count! (in collaboration with education resource centre, iChild) teaches primary school children about the census, while the Secondary School Programme provides high-quality resources to engage students with the power of data.
In November and December 2020, we hosted a series of webinars about our plans for Census 2021, which gave attendees the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.
It is now just under six months until the Census in England and Wales takes place on 21 March 2021. This major event requires considerable planning, design and quality assurance. Our plans for 2021 build upon lessons learned from previous censuses, the 2019 Rehearsal, best practice on statistical design and our research and testing. In the light of COVID-19, we have refined our plans to ensure that everyone can provide their information safely and securely. We have already started to print the Census questionnaires and our Census Engagement Managers are now in post. As we continue to deliver our plans with contingencies in place, we are now in a strong position and are confident of delivering an outstanding Census in 2021. On 1 October 2020, we published three articles on our preparations for Census 2021 and a summary overview. The articles are available here:
In July 2020, the Scottish Government announced that Scotland's Census will now take place in March 2022. Also, on 15 September 2020, the Central Statistics Office in Ireland announced that the Irish Census will take place in April 2022. The changes announced by Scotland have no direct operational impact on the Census in England and Wales, nor in Northern Ireland. We are working with National Records Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency to ensure we continue to produce UK-wide population statistics.
Over summer 2020, we began to recruit our field force by advertising for community engagement roles. Details of current and upcoming roles on Census 2021 are listed on censusjobs.co.uk.
In June 2020, we published the final paper household questionnaires for England and Wales and the first in a series of question development reports.
The legislation required to hold Census 2021 is now in place - learn more on our Legislation and Policy page.
We regularly assess our operational readiness; these assessments are published in the UK Statistics Authority Board's minutes, available through the UKSA publications page.
We published our Census 2021 Milestones in May 2020, and are pleased to report that our preparations for the Census are progressing as planned in line with those milestones.
We carried out a successful Census rehearsal in late 2019.
The UK Government published a White Paper Help Shape Our Future: The 2021 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales in December 2018, setting out our recommendations for Census 2021.
Further Census updates will be published on this page. Find out about upcoming events for Census 2021 on our events page. You can also register for email updates about Census 2021 and/or other areas of the ONS.