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Digital-first 2021 England and Wales census will ask new questions

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The 2021 England and Wales will ask new questions and draw on 'additional sources of information', a new white paper laid in Parliament today reveals.

The census, which is taken every ten years (the last one was in 2011), will be 'digital first' for the first time in 2021, with support promised for those unable to complete the questions online.

The next census is due to take place on 21 March 2021, subject to parliamentary approval. Recommendations were set out in the Help Shape our Future white paper published today.

With every census, consideration is given to new questions which should be added to provide information which is not available from elsewhere.
The 2021 Census will, for the first time, collect information on veterans of the UK Armed Forces. This enables monitoring of the Armed Forces covenant – the deal between the country and those who served it.
 
It is also proposed that there will also be a new voluntary question on sexual orientation for those aged 16 and over. In addition to the usual question on being male or female, there will also be a voluntary question on gender identity for those aged 16 and over. It was always the intention of Office for National Statistics that these questions would be voluntary.
 
At the heart of society
 
National Statistician, John Pullinger, said of the upcoming census: “The Census is for everyone; it gives us all the opportunity to stand up and be counted in democratic debate and policy decisions.
 
“We have designed it with people at its heart and we consulted widely to ensure it meets the needs of society. Unlike previous Censuses, it will be digital first which will make it easier to complete electronically, with help available for those who need it.”

Read the white paper here.

QUICK LINK: How to find your ancestors on the census

Image copyright David Iliff, license CC BY SA 3.0-76861

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