Census in England, Wales and Northern Ireland 2021

March 8, 2021

A census of the resident population of England, Wales and Northern Ireland will take place on Sunday 21 March 2021. Due to Covid-19, the Census for Scotland has been deferred for a year and is now scheduled to take place on 20 March 2022.

What is the Census?

The census is a survey that happens every 10 years and gives us a picture of all the people and households in the UK. The census is unique, there is nothing else that gives as much detail about those living in the UK and the society that we are a part of.

The first census was in 1801 and the most recent in 2011. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) runs the census in England and Wales, National Records of Scotland (NRS) run the census in Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) run the Northern Ireland census.

Many organisations, from central Government, to local authorities, to charities, use this information to plan out and help provide the services we all need, including transport, education and healthcare. Without the census, it would be much more difficult to track where resources and infrastructure are needed.

By taking part, you will help make sure that you and your community will get the services needed now and in the future.

Ministry of Defence participation in the Census

Participation in the census is a legal requirement under the Census Act 1920 and the Census (England and Wales) Order 2020 and the Census Regulations 2020 (Northern Ireland). The single Services are required to assist ONS and NISRA to ensure that all Service personnel who are usually resident in the UK are counted in the census.

A Defence Instruction Notice (DIN) relating to the census in has been issued and all Service and civilian personnel should make themselves familiar with its contents. The DIN includes instructions on how Service personnel should answer certain census questions, as well as instructions regarding employer address information for Service and civilian personnel working at sensitive MOD locations.

All Commanding Officers in England and Wales are expected to have appointed officer(s) to the Unit Enumerator (UE) role for the duration of the Census process. The UE will be responsible for providing advice and assistance to ONS and NISRA personnel in the execution of their census duties and to act as a first point of contact for ONS/NISRA field personnel.

2021DIN01-032 can be found here, detailing advice for Civilian and Service personnel on completing the Census

For the first time, there is a question in the census about military service.  This is for anyone who is a veteran of the regulars or the reserves and has been introduced to help provide accurate information to service providers who need to plan ahead.  More information is available at this link: Have you previously served in the UK Armed Forces? – Census 2021

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