Census 2021

Census 2021

The Census is a once-in-a-decade survey organised by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and gives us the most accurate estimates of all people and households in England and Wales. It collects data on characteristics including education, religion, ethnicity, working life and health. Census day took place on 21 March 2021.

The Census gives decision-makers in national and local government, community groups, charities and business the opportunity to better serve communities and individualsunderpinning decision making on provision of services such as education, housing and healthcare. The population estimates from the Census are also used to allocate public money to a range of organisations including the devolved administrations, local government and the health service.

Census population estimates are vital in helping to shape the communities in which we live and work, as they:

    • underpin policy making and council funding allocation from central government;
    • provide information to help plan and prioritise service delivery;
    • give a benchmark for estimates of population between censuses; and
    • provide unique detailed demographic information about local small area populations.

It is important that Census estimates are accurate so that funding and services can be put in the places where they are needed. In between Censuses, central government funding is allocated locally based on the ONS’s mid-year population estimates. The Census acts as an important sense check and reset to these mid-year population estimates.

Census 2021 in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Liaison Team has been co-ordinating work around Census 2021, which has included:

      • Setting up the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Census 2021 Network, a forum for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough councils to share ideas and working practices, work collaboratively where we can, support one another and avoid potential duplication of work around Census 2021;
      • Liaising with the ONS Census 2021 Quality Assurance team on data validation and quality assurance for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, providing local data to highlight areas of concern. This is an ongoing engagement process until Spring 2022.

Read our latest Census 2021 newsletter to get an update on our work programme.

Census 2021 was the first digital-first census and the ONS has recently published data on the proportion of households that responded to Census 2021 online. Overall, 97% of households across England and Wales responded to Census 2021. The ONS had set a pre-census target of at least 75% online completion – this target was exceeded, 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. View our analysis of the online share of responses for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, including maps for each district.

Census 2021 outputs

The ONS aims to release the first output from Census 2021 – on population – in May 2022, with further topics being released thereafter. This will include topics such as health, housing and education. The ONS is expecting to publish its initial response to its outputs consultation in mid-December. This will set out its recommendations for the ‘Phase 1’ outputs, which will cover geographical boundaries, UK data, topic summaries and area profiles.

The ONS is expecting to publish its final response to the outputs consultation by the end of March 2022. This will cover recommendations related to phase 2 outputs onwards, including the multivariate outputs, origin-destination data, and analysis requests.

The ONS website will be used to provide full detail of Phase 1 releases, and these Outputs pages will replace the traditional “Prospectus” of outputs.

Coming soon – Survey of users’ needs for Census 2021 data in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough!

Census data provides a wealth of information and is widely used to inform and underpin decision-making on provision of services such as education, housing and healthcare. We are planning the analysis and outputs of Census 2021 data that we will provide for our users across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

We will soon be publishing our  Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Census 2021 Outputs Survey so that we can understand our users’ needs for Census data. We would love to hear from you about your needs, and we would also really value your help in promoting the survey within your networks so that we can reach and hear from a wide audience.