1. About the report

This report allows users to understand how the Office for National Statistics used administrative data sources to support a high-quality Census 2021 in England and Wales. It also allows users to understand the quality of the sources.

Administrative data are those that public and private organisations have collected for operational purposes, such as registration, transaction, and recordkeeping, usually to provide public services.

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2. What information the report contains

The report gives details about each data source, and its coverage, accuracy, and timeliness against the needs of the census.

It also contains information about how we used the data sources throughout the census design, including to:

  • construct and quality assure the Census 2021 Address Frame

  • support the census fieldwork operation and ensure the right approaches and resources were in place to achieve a high response 

  • inform the processing and estimation stages and the quality assurance of the census results

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3. Important points about data use

  • Using administrative data to support the census aligns with international best practice and the "Quality" pillar of the Code of Practice for Statistics on the use of suitable data sources

  • We only use administrative data for statistical purposes in the public interest, and the data are subject to robust controls to ensure that individuals cannot be identified.

  • We comply with all data protection legislation - you can find further information including the ONS's privacy statement and data protection policy on our data protection page.

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4. How to download the report

Download Administrative data used in Census 2021, England and Wales (PDF, 824.7KB).

You can also download the article from the Related downloads.

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Contact details for this Methodology

Census customer services
Telephone: +44 1329 444972