You may have seen or heard that the time has come to complete the census for 2021. The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.
This year’s census, taking place on 21 March 2021, is unusual as it is being completed while we come to terms with the coronavirus pandemic but very much like the census in 1921, (the first after World War 1 and the Spanish Flu epidemic) it will capture a snapshot of society during this unprecedented time. It will provide us with new information that we will be able to use for years to come. This information will inform decisions on public services, including hospitals, schools, universities and job centres, to meet the needs of our changing society.
Census 2021 will be the first run predominantly online, with households receiving a postcard with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets, alleviating some of the hurdles of the pandemic.
Postcards will be arriving in the coming weeks, but we understand not everyone will be able to (or will want to), do their census online and paper questionnaires will be available for those who need them or prefer to use them.
We will also have a range of support services from online help, including help by email, social media, text message and on a web chat facility on our website. People can also complete their census over the phone, with the help of our trained staff, or by using the traditional paper form.
After Census Day (21 March 2021) we’ll deploy field staff to help those who have not yet filled in their census questionnaire online or on paper and direct them to the support services they need. The head of the census, Pete Benton, said: “They’ll be tested twice a week for coronavirus. And of course, they won’t go out if they have a positive test. “They will never need to enter people’s houses; it’s really no different from somebody delivering a parcel or a takeaway meal. Staff will be safe and socially distanced and following both national and local COVID-19 guidance.”
For any help, please go to www.census.gov.uk or call 0800 141 2021 from 1st March.
Don’t forget those who like to look up their family history. The Office of National Statistics will soon be releasing the personal information of those in the 1921 Census.
John Floyd Census Engagement Manager
South West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly