Press Release

Census 2021 is coming

18 February 2021

The Office for National Statistics is currently working with Neath Port Talbot Council to deliver a successful 2021 Census to help ensure local services fully meet future needs.

Census 2021 is coming

The once-a-decade Census, run by the Office for National Statistics, takes a snapshot of the country in one 24-hour period and is a major challenge. 

Understanding the needs of the nation helps everyone from central government to local organisations, such as councils and health authorities, plan and fund public services across Wales and England.

Census outputs inform where public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health – on cycle routes, schools and dental surgeries.

The Census, taking place on March 21st 2021, 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 coronavirus pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible.

The Chief Executive of Neath Port Talbot Council, Karen Jones, said: “Households across Neath Port Talbot will be asked to take part in the Census on March 21st to give us a better understanding of what our community needs now and what it will be likely to need in the future.

“The information collected will help us with decisions on the planning and funding of services in the places where they are most needed. After a year of living with COVID-19, the Census will be essential to the long-term understanding of the health, social and economic impacts on the people and households in our county borough so it’s important we all take part.”

Caryn Furlow – Harris, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Strategic Manager (Policy & Executive Support), who delivers the Census Liaison Manager role for the authority said:  “The Census is a once-in-a-decade survey providing the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. It will be the first Census run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code, enabling them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets.

“For those who are unable to respond digitally, paper copies will be available and there is also an opportunity to take part by phone for those who are unable to respond digitally or by paper.”

Households will begin receiving letters with online codes in March explaining how they can complete their online census. People can also request a paper questionnaire if they’d prefer to complete the census that way.  

In areas where lower online completion is expected, around 10% of households will receive a traditional paper form through the post.

There is plenty of help available, with people also able to complete the census over the phone with assistance from trained staff via the ONS free phone contact centre. The ONS also aims to provide in-person support to complete the census online through Census Support Centres where it is safe to do so.

The main Census field operation will begin only after Census Day, contacting those who have not responded. Field staff will never need to enter people’s houses; they will always be socially distanced, wear PPE and work in line with all government guidance.

Census 2021 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.

Results will be available in 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations. For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit


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