Ready, Steady Census!

The census is coming. By taking part, you can help inform decisions on services that shape your community, such as healthcare, education and transport.

The census is a unique survey that has happened every 10 years since 1801 (except for 1941). It gives us a snapshot of all the people and households in England and Wales – the most detailed information we have about our society. In one way or another, your information touches the lives of every single person living in England and Wales, whether it’s through using census information to plan transport routes, new schools, or doctors’ surgeries.

Census 2021 will be the first run predominantly online. Each household will receive a letter with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computer, phone or tablet. It’s important that you fill in your census questionnaire. Without the information you share, it would be more difficult to understand your own and your community’s needs, and to plan and fund public services.

The census will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions, for those aged 16 and over, on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Census Day is Sunday 21 March 2021. You can fill yours in online as soon as you get your access code in the post. If your household circumstances change on Census Day, you can let the Office for National Statistics (ONS) know.

Everyone should have the support they need to fill in the census. The ONS aims to make things as easy as possible for everyone, but if you need help taking part in the census, there’s a wide range of support services available. You can request support for yourself, or someone else, including:

· guidance and help in many languages and formats

· a paper version of the questionnaire, if you prefer

· accessible census guidance, for example, in braille

There is a help area on the census website, which covers everything from who to include on the questionnaire to how to answer each question. If you cannot find what you need there, there’s a dedicated contact centre where census staff will be on hand to give help over the phone, in a web chat or on social media.

If you are involved in a community group, you can help spread the word about the benefits and importance of Census 2021, through newsletters and social media.

Because these things matter to us all, everyone needs to complete the census. Don’t worry, government officials dealing with applications you’ve made or payments or services you receive, cannot see your census information. The ONS runs the census in England and Wales and is independent from government. Your details are protected by law and information published is always anonymous.

Results of the census will be available within 12 months of Census Day, but personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

If you need help or have any questions, please visit the Census 2021 website.

Denise O’Connor
Census Engagement Manager (North East Leeds)

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