What is the census?
The census is undertaken by the Office for National Statistics every 10 years and gives us a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales.
The census asks questions about you, your household and your home. In doing so, it helps to build a detailed snapshot of our society. Information from the census helps the government and local authorities to plan and fund local services, such as education, doctors’ surgeries and roads.
At the Office for National Statistics (ONS), we are responsible for planning and running the census in England and Wales.
UK census data
Censuses took place in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland in March 2021. Scotland’s census took place in March 2022. The ONS aims to publish all main Census 2021 data on the population of England and Wales within two years of the census. This is done in phases:
Census 2021 first results: published
On 28 June 2022 we published the first results from Census 2021 for England and Wales.
Datasets, publications and methodology
The results included rounded population and household estimates for England and Wales, for local authorities. View the list of the datasets, publications and methodology in the first results from the Census 2021 on the release calendar.
Topic summaries (univariate data)
We released this phase of census statistics in autumn 2022.
We have published a series of data and supporting information grouped by a similar theme, known as topic summaries.
Check the release calendar to learn more about publication dates.
The topic summaries in publication order are:
- demography and migration
- UK armed forces veterans
- ethnic group, national identity, language and religion
- Welsh language
- labour market and travel to work
- sexual orientation and gender identity
- health, disability and unpaid care
Census 2021 analysis programme
All Census 2021 data releases will be published with statistical commentary. A detailed three-year Census 2021 analysis programme will start after the release of topic summary data. Get more information about what we plan to publish in the first year of the analysis programme.
Phase 2: Starting from March/April 2023
Multivariate data for the usual resident population base
Multivariate data will allow you to combine variables and explore relationships between the data, collected from Census 2021 on the usual resident population of England and Wales. We are introducing new functionality for Census 2021 data that will allow you to make your own datasets, as well as view and download ready-made datasets. Get more information about the new functionality and our plans to release multivariate data.
Short-term resident population data
The short-term resident population includes those who were not born in the UK and who intended to stay in the UK for less than 12 months, as of March 2021. Following user feedback, we have moved the release of this alternative population into phase two.
Phase 3: from Summer 2023
There are 10 national parks in England and 3 in Wales. Each national park is managed by its own national park authority, a special-purpose local authority. For more information please see National park residents, England and Wales: Census 2021.
Alternative population bases
Alternative population bases are the different geographical locations where individuals could have been counted for Census 2021. Examples include workplace, workday and out-of-term populations.
Small populations are groups that are defined by their cultural background, including characteristics such as ethnic group, country of birth, religion and national identity. Examples of small populations that we are committed to producing datasets about include Cornish, Kashmiri, Nepali, Sikh, Ravidassia and Jain.
Detailed migration data
Detailed migration statistics provide the characteristics of people or households who have moved within the UK or from another country into the UK during the year before the census.
Origin-destination data or ‘flow’ data
Origin-destination data describes the movement of people from one location to another. Planned types of origin-destination data from Census 2021 include:
- migration flow data
- workplace flow data
- second address flow data
- student flow data
These datasets will be classified as either public, safeguard or secure. Get more details about our plans, including how you can access origin-destination data.
Microdata are samples of anonymised records for individuals and households, which include a selection of associated census characteristics. Microdata samples will be classified in three ways: public, safeguarded or secure.
Additional geographies: postcodes and parishes