Census 2021 - Update

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Census 2021

Census 2021 Update

18 October 2021

Census 2021 – the count is done, the data is in, so what happens next?


The Census 2021 collection operation was a fantastic success with more than 97% of households in England and Wales completing their questionnaire to make sure they are represented when it comes to provision for local services. But just as big a challenge is turning the information you have provided into statistics we can all use. Ed Dunn (Deputy Director at the ONS and Head of Census Data Transformation Division) explains what is happening now and when the results will be available.

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Digital take up of Census 2021 beats targets

A fantastic 97% of households across England and Wales responded to Census 2021 to ensure they count when it comes to local services - and almost 90% of them did so online.

Initial findings, released last week, show online take up of the first digital-first census far exceeded expectations, with more than 22 million responses submitted using the web questionnaire.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) had set a pre-census target of at least 75% online completion. However, that was beaten, with 88.9% of households responding to the census choosing to do so on a digital device.

Mobile phone was the most common way of completing the electronic questionnaire, with 56.4% of households choosing to do so that way. Nearly 35% used a desktop computer, while 9% used a tablet.

The average completion time for the household online form was 23 minutes, in line with expectations.

Top 3 local authorities in England by online share for online first areas:

  • Tower Hamlets - 97.3%
  • Newham - 97.0%
  • City of London - 96.7%

Top 3 local authorities in Wales by online share for online first areas:

  • Cardiff - 95.2%
  • Newport - 94.3%
  • Vale of Glamorgan - 94.2%

See digital take up results for your local area here

For more information on the online Census 2021 and how the ONS enabled people to respond digitally or on paper, read the full reports here.    

Inclusive Data Taskforce report launch

Leaving no one behind – How can we be more inclusive in our data?

Last month, the ONS set out a series of initiatives to ensure the inclusivity of UK data, so that the issues facing the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society are fully represented in statistics and evidence.

This work builds on the recommendations of the Inclusive Data Taskforce, commissioned by the National Statistician, with the aim of transforming the inclusivity of UK data.

You can read more about the taskforce's work here.

View the full report and recommendations here

You can also download the National Statistician’s response and the high-level work programme from the UKSA website.

Thank you...

We wanted to send a big thank you to everyone who responded to our outputs consultation which closed at midnight on Tuesday 5 October.  Your feedback will help us to make decisions on the final design of the Census 2021 outputs and analysis for England and Wales. 

We are currently undertaking a full evaluation of all the consultation responses and plan to publish an initial response to the feedback received, in December 2021. 

If you have any questions about the consultation please contact: census.ouputs@ons.gov.uk

Contact us

Your continued interest in Census 2021 is important to us so please keep in touch at 2021Census.Engagement@ons.gov.uk  

For more information please visit ons.gov.uk or census.gov.uk