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 first assessment of estimating number of rooms and bedrooms using Valuation Office Agency (VOA) administrative data.
The White Paper, Help Shape Our Future: The 2021 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales (PDF,886KB), stated that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is committed using VOA data to replace the number of rooms question on Census 2021. In July 2020, we published a summary and methodology paper that provide an overview of how we plan to address missing values when replacing the number of rooms question in Census 2021. We also published a quality assessment of administrative data for the use of VOA data in Census 2021 to provide further assurances to our users.
Questions and response options for Census 2021 have now been finalised through the census secondary legislation: the Census (England and Wales) Order 2020 as well as Census Regulations for England and for Wales. Further details on question developments for housing and communal establishments can be found in Communal establishments and individual questionnaire question development for Census 2021 and Housing question development for Census 2021.
Our Question and questionnaire development overview for Census 2021 report provides more detailed information on how we have developed and tested the overall look of Census 2021.
News and reports
19 October 2020, Census 2021 question development reports
We have published two question development reports for Census 2021:
31 July 2020, Estimating the number of rooms in Census 2021: an update on imputation methods for Valuation Office Agency data
This summary provides an overview of how we plan to address missing values when replacing the number of rooms question in Census 2021.
We have also published a methodology working paper that provides more detail on the methodology used.
31 July 2020, Valuation Office Agency property attribute data: quality assurance of administrative data used in Census 2021
This report provides a summary of the quality assurance undertaken on administrative data for Valuation Office Agency property attribute data used in Census 2021.
21 February 2020, Admin-based statistics for property type and property floor space, feasibility research: England and Wales
In February 2020, we published two research outputs as part of our ongoing research exploring how VOA data could be used to produce housing statistics. This follows up on our commitment to explore the feasibility of supplementing census with VOA data on property type, size and rooms as stated in the White Paper, Help Shape Our Future: The 2021 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales (PDF, 967KB).
The first report, Admin-based statistics for property type, feasibility research: England and Wales, presents early research demonstrating the potential of VOA data to provide detailed information on property type, how it compares with 2011 Census accommodation type, and a request for feedback on the usefulness of these statistics.
The second report, Admin-based statistics for property floor space, feasibility research: England and Wales, presents early research demonstrating measures of property size (floor space) from VOA data, which statistics can be generated from these data, what they can and cannot be used for, and a request for feedback on their usefulness.
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.
You can find out more about the design of the census, as well as the latest news and updates on progress towards census 2021.