The 2021 census starts on March 21, and will be ‘digital-first’ for the first time

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Information campaigns are now running across national and regional areas to get people ready for the 2021 census.

From 3-13th March, UK residents will start receiving invitation packs in the post containing a unique access code that will enable them to fill in the survey online – on computer, phone or tablet.

Although it is expected that most people will complete the census online there will still be support available for anyone who needs help filling it in, including guidance over the phone and local drop-in locations.

This year’s census will be key to ensuring big decisions on the future of healthcare, education, transport and other public services.

Failure to answer the survey could result in a fine of up to £1,000.

A census has been taken in England and Wales, and separately for Scotland, every ten years since 1801, with the exception of 1941. 

2021 will be the first year where a census is not taken in Scotland since 1941, where it has been postponed because of Covid.

The information submitted will be held confidentially for 100 years, under the Census Act 1920, as amended by the Census (Confidentiality) Act 1991 c.6, which makes it an offence to disclose personal information held in them until 100 years after the date they were conducted.