By now you, or someone in your house, will have received an official letter asking you to take part in the 2021 Census on Sunday, 21st March 2021.
A census is an official count of every person living in the UK and it happens once every 10 years. This year, we are asked to fill in the census form online and the letter you received will contain a link and a household code. However, details of how to request a paper form or how to get additional help are also in the letter.
Why is it important?
Knowing who lives in an area helps the government to decide what resources are required. For example, knowing the ages of people will indicate how may schools are needed. And what about GPs and dentists? Transport and roads? Based on our population, organisations like the Council and the NHS will be able to calculate the right services for our area. Other groups can use the information for research purposes, for example Westway Trust may use the information about languages spoken at home to get funding to provide free ESOL classes! Every piece of information has a purpose.
BUT - Is my personal information safe?
Many of us worry about sharing personal information. These days, everyone from Tesco to Google seems to know us! However, the Census information is stored safely and securely by law by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for 100 years, and is used only to plan for the public good and for research purposes. If any of your children go on to study public policy at university, this is just the kind of data they will depend on. Anyone using Census data will never see names; only numbers.
Who should fill it in?
The Census form is addressed to ‘The Householder’. This is the person or persons who own or rent the property where you live. So just one person fills it in on behalf of everyone who lives at your address.