Census 2021

Census Day was Sunday 21 March 2021

What is the census?

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.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) delivers the census. It is important that every household in England and Wales takes part to make it accurate.

The census is used to inform decisions about the things that matter to your community. It provides a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales. No other survey gives as much detail about us and the society we live in. All kinds of organisations use the information including Newham council to help provide the services we all need, including transport, education, and healthcare. Without the census, it would be much more difficult to do this.

You must complete the census by law. It is an offence to supply false information or to not complete the census, and you could be fined up to £1,000. Some questions are clearly labelled as voluntary. It is not an offence if you do not answer these.

How will taking part benefit me?

Taking part in the census is your chance to help make sure you and your community get the services you need for the next 10 years and beyond.

Organisations such as local authorities and charities use census data to plan and fund the services we all need, including transport, education and healthcare. Without the census, it’d be much more difficult to do this.

What to expect

The Census is moving to a “digital-first” census. The aim is for as many people as possible to fill their questionnaire in online in 2021. It’s easy to do and can be done on any device. Most people will get a letter with a unique access code on it through the post. All you need to do is enter the code into the website and fill in the questionnaire.  It only takes about 10 minutes to fill in per household and 10 minutes per person.

You should now have received your letter with the household code and a helpful leaflet with help and advice.

You can request a paper version of the questionnaire, if you prefer.

Find out more about the 2021 Census 

If you have not received your 16-character access code from the ONS to complete the census, please visit their website to have the code texted/posted to you directly.

  1. Visit the census website to request a new code
  2. Fill in your postcode (e.g.E16 2QU )
  3. Select your address and follow the on screen instructions

If you can’t find your address or wish to speak to someone from the ONS, please call 0800 141 2021

Help and advice

The Office for National Statistics is trying to make it as easy as possible for everyone to take part in 2021 Census.

The Census 2021 website has lots of information, help, support and guidance https://census.gov.uk/

Help includes:

  • Online help
  • Freephone helpline -0800 141 2021
  • Guidance and support in many languages – For help and support in a different  language  please click  here . If you can’t find what you need using the link or need more help you can call the free language helpline on 0800 587 2021.
  • Text relay – Relay UK users dial 18001 followed by the phone number you need.
  • Accessible census guidance, for example, in braille. – Click here
  • Webchat – Click here
  • social media
  • Text message – 86677
  • Census Support Centres -Most centres are open to provide phone support and face-to-face appointments. They can help with general census queries, and help you to fill in your online census or paper form. To look up your nearest centres for contact details and information about what support is available please click here

Please check the Census webpage for updates https://census.gov.uk/contact-us


There are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Census website which you may find helpful – FAQs

Is my data safe?

The safety of your information is top priority for ONS. You cannot be identified in the statistics they publish. The personal information you give is protected by law.

For more information click here

ONS only use your answers to produce statistics. No one can tell who you are in the statistics they publish they don’t include any of your personal information.

Protecting your personal information is our highest priority.

Personal information is any information that could allow you to be identified, for example your name, address or date of birth.

Could the information I share affect my taxes or my benefit or immigration status?

No. The information you share in the census cannot be used to influence benefit claims, immigration status, a residency application, or your taxes. The ONS is independent of the government. This means officials dealing with payments or services you receive cannot see your census information.

Scam and fraud prevention

  • Only enter information online using the link to the ONS secure website provided in the letter you have received. Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or email as they are unlikely to be genuine. If you are unsure contact the census helpline. 0800 328 2021
  • All census officers will carry official identification cards with a photograph and their name; if you are concerned as to an officers identity please contact the census helpline for further advice and guidance. The census does not ask for any bank details and census officers will never ask you for any money or bank details during their conversation with you.
  • Action Fraud have a useful guide please click here