Following feedback from the Census 2021 topic consultation, we committed to collecting information on all housing topics. However, we noted that the user need for information on rooms and bedrooms was very similar, so we committed to reviewing the need for two separate questions and to explore the potential to use Valuation Office Agency data to produce estimates instead. In June 2017, we published our assessment of estimating number of rooms and bedrooms using Valuation Office Agency (VOA) administrative data.

Information on the user need for visitors and communal establishments was not discussed in the topic consultation. We use information on visitors (those staying at an address overnight on census night that have no usual address in the UK) operationally to minimise the number of people missed from the census in England and Wales. Communal establishments refer to managed residential accommodation, for example nursing homes and military barracks.

Each piece of research is part of a wider programme of testing and question development. This question development and testing informed the recommendations in the government White Paper Help Shape Our Future: The 2021 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales (PDF 886KB), published in December 2018.

News and reports

13 December 2017, Response to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) consultation on estimating the number of rooms and bedrooms using Valuation Office Agency data

This report summarises the responses we received to the estimating rooms and bedrooms consultation. We received 34 complete responses from central government, local authorities, academics and agencies.

28 June 2017, Estimating the number of rooms and bedrooms in the 2021 Census: An alternative approach using Valuation Office Agency data

Following the 2021 Census topic consultation, we made a commitment to explore the use of administrative data from the Valuation Office Agency to produce estimates for number of rooms. This commitment has been updated to include producing estimates for number of bedrooms. We published a report on an alternative approach for producing estimates on rooms and bedrooms using Valuation Office Agency data and held a consultation to help us understand the impact of this change. A Welsh translated version of the consultation is also available.