In December 2018, the government presented to Parliament a White Paper Help Shape our Future: The 2021 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales (PDF, 967KB). This outlined the Office for National Statistics' (ONS's) proposal to collect information on the population structure to understand, for example, future hospital, school, and housing needs. We will use the 2011 Census question topics on demography for Census 2021 and collect these data in a way that is consistent with previous censuses.

The White Paper also outlined the ONS's proposal for the enumeration base to remain the same for Census 2021 as for the 2011 Census. This maintains continuity and means that we will continue to collect information on usual residents of the UK, census short-term UK residents, and overnight visitors.

Question development reports

The Demography question development report for Census 2021 details the development of questions relating to demography and the population structure. These include:

  • date of birth

  • marital and civil partnership status

  • household relationships

Further information on the question on sex is available in the Sex and gender identity question development for Census 2021 report.

The Counting residents and visitors question development report for Census 2021 details the development of questions on:

  • usual residents of the UK

  • census short-term UK residents

  • overnight visitors

Definitions for these groups can be found in Outputs and numeration bases: residential address and population definitions 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.

You can find out more about the design of the census, as well as the latest news and updates on progress towards census 2021.