The census tells government, local authorities, the health service and other statutory service providers what our needs are now, and what they’re likely to be in the future. Information you give informs where billions of pounds of funding is spent on things like transport, education and health.
Every household will have received a letter, or will receive one this week, telling them to complete the Census and giving a Household Access Code.
If you cannot complete it online you should request a paper copy by calling 0800 141 2021 (automated service) or asking somebody to request one for you at census.gov.uk.
You can complete it as soon as you get the letter (or paper form) but the information needs to be accurate for Sunday 21st March. You can start filling in details and save your answers to complete the rest of the questions later.
You should complete it on 21 March or as soon after as later.
The form asks questions about your household and about individuals within it. If you want to complete your individual information separately from others within your household you can request an individual access code.
Contact from the ONS.
Neither the ONS support team or their contractors will call or visit you on or before 21 March to collect information.
If you do not complete the census they may contact you to encourage you to submit your form.
The ONS census team will carry out the Census Coverage Survey after the census date to sample the accuracy of the census data. The survey is not to test that individual households have given true information. You will receive a card beforehand and the interviewers will provide identification if they call. You are not obliged to participate in the survey.
Data security and privacy
The census in England and Wales is run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS and the statistics they generate are independent from government.
Government departments dealing with any applications you’ve made, or any payments or services you receive, cannot see your census information. For example, it cannot be used to influence benefit claims, a residency application, immigration status or taxes. Landlords, or any private organisation, will not be able to see your personal information either.
Census records will be kept secure for 100 years. Only then can future generations view them, for example, those interested in family history.