Residents of four areas of England and Wales will be taking part in a rehearsal that will ensure the overall success of the 2021 Census.

People in Carlisle, Ceredigion, Hackney and Tower Hamlets will be asked to complete a questionnaire about those living in their household on 13 October 2019.

The rehearsal will enable Office for National Statistics (ONS) to test some of the systems and processes it has put in place ahead of the digital-first 2021 Census.

The four locations include urban, rural and mixed areas with varying internet coverage, places where there are Welsh speakers, students and residents of a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities.

The rehearsal will be online, with help for those who need it. Residents will be invited to take part later this year.

Director of census operations, Pete Benton, said:

“The census helps inform vital public services such as the number of children’s school places, hospital and GP services and social care provision in local areas.

"As the census only takes place every 10 years it is important we hold an operational rehearsal to ensure that all our processes run smoothly.

“The people who take part will all be helping to ensure the overall success of the 2021 Census.”

ONS’s recommendations for the next census were published in a government White Paper (PDF 967KB) in December 2018.

The 2021 Census will, for the first time, collect information on veterans of the UK Armed Forces. This enables monitoring of the Armed Forces covenant – the deal between the country and those who served it.

A new voluntary question on sexual orientation for those aged 16 years and over is also proposed. In addition to the usual question on being male or female, there will also be a voluntary question on gender identity for those aged 16 years and over.

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