A census has taken place in England every ten years since 1801 (with the exception of 1941). A census gathers information about our society so that appropriate services can be put in place for everyone to enjoy now and in the future.

Fans of TV programmes such as “Who Do You Think You Are” will know the value of historic census data to family historians and genealogists, but data from the census impacts our lives every day, often without us even realising it.

Did you know that water companies use census data to anticipate peak water demand? Or that the NHS uses census data to plan a wide range of services such as hospitals and GP surgeries, mobile chiropodists and home support? Everything from schools to care home places are planned using census data to make sure that the needs of all age groups are met.

Every aspect of our lives is impacted by the census, so it is vital that everyone participates to ensure the best possible understanding of the structure and needs of our society.

By taking part, you can make sure that your community is represented and gets its share of public and other funding to ensure the provision of services now and in the future.

The next census official census date is Sunday 21st March 2021, but Census 2021 will be the first time that everyone will be able to complete the census online at any time from the beginning of March 2021.

You will receive a letter with your unique access code and will be able to complete the census online using any device.

Help will be available if you need it by phone, email or text. You will also be able to use web-chat or social media, or drop into a Covid-compliant Census Support Centre. Guidance will be available in a range of languages and accessible formats, and the paper option will still be available if needed.

The census is run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which operates completely independently of government and of any private sector interests.

All information submitted for the census is stored securely and anonymised. No personal data is ever sold nor is it shared with any other government department.

Information from the census is only released after 100 years when your descendants may be tracing their own family history.

Please make sure that you support your community by participating in Census 2021.

For more information go to or on social media @Census 2021