Census 2021: Don’t forget to take part

Residents who are yet to take part in the census are urged to complete their questionnaire as soon as possible.

Census Day was Sunday 21 March but there is still time to take part and support is available to help you complete the questionnaire.

The information you provide will need to be about who was living in your household on Census Day - Sunday 21 March 2021.

How to complete the census questionnaire

You should have received a letter with a unique access code and instructions to access the questionnaire online at If you need a new access code, you can get one on the census website.

You can also get support with completing or accessing your census questionnaire, including requesting a paper copy, by calling the Census 2021 Contact Centre on 0800 141 2021.

The census website includes information translated into different languages and in accessible formats, and there is a free language helpline available on 0800 587 2021.

You can also visit a census support centre to get help with completing the census. Face-to-face and telephone appointments are available and need to be booked in advance.

You can find your nearest support centre on the census website. Pancras Square and Kilburn libraries are offering this service – call 020 7974 4444 to book.

What happens if you do not take part?

If you do not take part in the census, a Census Officer will visit your household to offer support to access and complete the questionnaire.

Census Officers will be working in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit. They will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), follow social distancing rules and work in line with government guidance.

All households are required by law to take part in the census and if you don’t you may have to pay a fine of up to £1,000.

Census scam alert

Please be aware that scammers may seek to use the census as an opportunity to defraud on the doorstep, over the internet or on the telephone.

Remember the following:

  • At no point will you be asked for your national insurance number, passwords, bank account details, or your credit or debit card numbers, nor any payment
  • You will not receive any payment for completing the census, so any offers of money in exchange for your account details will be fraudulent
  • You will not be called for information about the census unless you’ve made an appointment with the Census Contact Centre or made a query or complaint 
  • No-one will enter your home in relation to the census

What is the census?

The census, run by the Office for National Statistics, 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 10 years since 1801, apart from in 1941.

Census 2021 is the first run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets.

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

The information you provide to the census is confidential and protected by law so no individual household or person can be identified. Government officials dealing with applications you have made, or payments or services you receive, cannot see the information you give.

How does the census benefit our communities?

Understanding the needs of the nation helps everyone from central government to councils and health authorities to plan and fund public services.

Census information helps decide where billions of pounds of public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health. Emergency services across the UK use census statistics to allocate resources and plan services. Charities and voluntary organisations often use it as evidence to get funding. It also provides important information on population diversity, allowing organisations to know whether they are meeting their responsibilities and triggering action where necessary.