Census 2021 is around the corner, and it is vital that all Black communities within England and Wales are counted.
Run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics – the census is the once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all people and households in England and Wales. It has been carried out every decade since 1801 – except for 1941 – and asks questions about you and the people you live with.
The census will shed light on the needs of different groups and communities, and the inequalities people are experiencing, ensuring that big decisions facing the country following the pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible, through the anonymised answers you provide.
It will highlight areas of deprivation; show the ethnic make-up of the country, and provide information on our living arrangements, health, education and the jobs we do. This data will help inform policy at a local and national level for years to come.
Emergency services across the UK use census statistics to allocate resources and to plan services based on the local area’s characteristics. Information from the census is also important in helping lots of other people and organisations do their work.
Charities and voluntary organisations often use it as evidence to get funding. It helps businesses to understand their customers and, for example, decide where to open new shops. Plus, those doing research, like university students and people looking into their family history, use census data. It provides important information on population diversity, allowing organisations to know whether they are meeting their responsibilities and triggering action where necessary.
Kolawole Collins Larrys is a census community adviser in Westminster, where he is raising awareness about the census within Black Caribbean communities. “The information gathered in the 2021 Census will be used to guide decisions on funding for places of worship, youth centres, hospitals and schools. It is therefore very important that minority groups and smaller organisations get a say in this matter,” he said.
Census Day is 21st March, with results becoming available in 2022. It is ONS policy never to share personal details, and no one – including government bodies – will be able to identify you in census statistics. Personal census records will be kept secure for 100 years, and only then can future generations view it.
This census will be the first to be run mostly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code in March, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets.
Paper questionnaires will also be available on request, along with language support via the free contact centre. The ONS aims to provide in-person support to complete the census online or over the phone, with help from trained staff at Census Support Centres where it is safe to do so.
The census will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity, with options to allow everyone to identify their nationality, ethnic group and religion as they wish.
For more information, please visit census.gov.uk.