Census 2021

Households across Wigan will soon be asked to take part in Census 2021. 

We've put together the following information to make sure any queries or concerns you may have are covered.

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 England and Wales. The information you provide helps decide how public services are planned and funded in your local area. This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, housing or new bus routes.

It asks questions about you and your household to build a picture of all of us. It looks at who we are and how we live. There’s no other survey that gives as much information about our society and future needs.

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.

When is it happening?

Census day was on Sunday, 21st March 2021.

Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

Why should I take part?

The census helps us understand what our society needs now and what it will likely need in the future. The information it collects helps with decisions on the planning and funding of services in your area. This may include schools, doctors’ surgeries, emergency services or even local support groups.

Charities also use census information to help get the funding they need. Businesses use it to decide where to set up, which creates job opportunities.

What is different about this census?

For the first time, it will be a primarily online census, making it easy for most people to complete the census on any device. Whilst the census will be digital first, online support centres and paper questionnaires will be available for those who need them.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) aim to provide in-person support to complete the census online through Census Support Centres where it is safe to do so.

What are the questions going to be?

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

Robust data on the LGBTQ+ population is needed by local authorities and service providers to design and provide the right services and to monitor their effectiveness.

What happens if I don't complete my questionnaire?

Your census response is required by law. Everyone in England and Wales must complete a census or be included on a census for the place where they’re living or staying.

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

Why are we having a census during a pandemic?

There’s never been a more important time to have a census. After a year of living with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Census 2021 will be essential to our long-term understanding of the health, social and economic impacts on the people and households of England and Wales.

The census will shed light on the needs of different groups and communities, and the inequalities people are experiencing, ensuring the big decisions facing the country following the pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible.

Will my data be safe?

Yes. The safety of your information is our top priority. You cannot be identified in the statistics we publish. The personal information you give us is protected by law. Your census record is kept secure for 100 years and only then can it be seen by future generations.

Further information and advice

© Wigan Council