Census 2021: What are the questions on the form?

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IT’S time for the once-in-a-decade census in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Census 2021 is organised by the Office of National Statistics in England and Wales and it is taking place despite the Covid pandemic.

🔵 Read our Census 2021 live blog for the latest news, updates and useful tips...

Held every ten years - the census helps to gather information about the population


Held every ten years - the census helps to gather information about the populationCredit: Alamy

What questions are on the 2021 census?

According to a House of Commons briefing paper published on March 8, 2021 the census collects a wide range of demographic information about topics like age, sex, marital status, health, education and housing.

Questions are on a wide range of categories, and cover:


Name, date, country of birth, and your health Your address and people who live there Are there any visitors staying overnight on March 21, 2021 at this address? Household relationships Do you stay at another address for more than 30 days a year? One year ago, what was your usual address? Religion What passports you hold Physical and mental health conditions


Have you completed an apprenticeship? Have you achieved a qualification at degree level or above? In the last four weeks, were you actively looking for any kind of paid work? If a job became available now, could you start it within two weeks? In the last seven days, were you waiting to start a job already accepted? Have you ever done any paid work? In your main job, what is (was) your employment status?

Ethnic group

What is your ethnic group? National identity Can you understand, speak, read or write Welsh? What is your main language? (If you live in England) How well can you speak English?

Sex and gender

Describe your sexual orientation Is the gender you identify with the same as your sex registered at birth?

March 21, 2021 is census day


March 21, 2021 is census dayCredit: PA

What new questions are on the 2021 census?

There are three new questions in the 2021 census, covering:

• Veteran status: whether the respondent has ever served in the UK Armed Forces.

• Sexual orientation: whether the respondent identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, or some other sexual orientation. This question will be voluntary and only asked of respondents aged 16 and over.

• Gender identity: whether the respondent’s gender is different from the sex they were registered as at birth.

This question will also be voluntary and limited to respondents aged 16 and over.

It is a legal obligation to fill out the census


It is a legal obligation to fill out the census

Can I be fined if I do not complete census 2021?

Under the law it is an offence not to complete the census.

The government’s briefing paper states: “Persons refusing to comply with the statutory requirement will be offered encouragement and assistance to do so, but if they continue to refuse, may be liable to legal proceedings.

“This may include prosecution, possibly resulting in a fine (the maximum level of which is currently £1,000) and a criminal record.”

The ONS aims to achieve a 94 per cent response rate across England and Wales, and a response rate of at least 80 per cent in each local authority.

Prosecution for non-completion of a census form has been relatively rare. There were 286 cases taken to court for non-completion following the 2011 census, of which 270 resulted in convictions.

Blackpool Tower has been illuminated purple by the ONS to mark Census Day 2021, on Sunday March 21


Blackpool Tower has been illuminated purple by the ONS to mark Census Day 2021, on Sunday March 21Credit: PA

And you can't refuse to do it, as there is a statutory requirement to complete a census return.

Your local council can provide help if needed or you have difficulty completing it.

There is also a helpline.

If you live in England: telephone free: 0800 141 2021

If you live in Wales: telephone free: free: 0800 169 2021 (available in English or Welsh).

You can also send a text message via 86677.

In Northern Ireland, check out the census page online for contact details.


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Video explains how to complete the Census 2021 form

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