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Census day is nearly here!


Monday, 15 March, 2021

The census, which takes place every 10 years, is almost upon us. Households are encouraged to complete this important survey on census day, Sunday 21 March 2021.

By now all households should have received their census letters from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which explains how you can take part in the census and includes your unique access code to complete the survey online.

Information from the digital-first census will help decide how services are planned and funded in your local area. This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, housing and new bus routes.

“A successful census will help give the best picture of the needs of everyone living in England and Wales,” said Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics.

"It helps us understand what our society needs now and what it will likely need in the future. It takes just 10 minutes per person to take part and if you can’t get online, there are paper forms available for those who need them. Now is the time to make your mark on history.”

Local census support centres will be open while the census is happening. Staff will offer help for people not confident online, who don’t have a computer and require a paper version, or need help completing the survey.

Operating in line with the government’s latest COVID-19 guidance, field officers will also be deployed across the country to contact those who have not responded. They will offer help and advice to those who need it. They will also remind people that their census response is required by law.

This census is the most inclusive yet. Everyone can identify as they wish using search as you type online and write-in options on paper if they need it.

The questionnaire includes questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

To complete your census, and to find out how you can get help, please visit www.census.gov.uk or call 0800 141 2021.

Census facts about Woking

At the time of the last census in 2011:

  • 99,198 people lived in Woking.
  • The top occupation was sales and retail assistant (2,167 people).
  • There were 942 sales accounts and business development managers, 826 nurses and 453 receptionists
  • 8,117 (15.7%) of people got the train, tram, underground, metro or light rail to work
  • The top country of birth, other than the UK, was Pakistan (2,615 people).
  • The top language, other than English or Welsh, was Urdu.
  • There are 276 different ethnicities.
  • There were 136 households with 8 or more people.

Frequently asked questions about the census

What is the census?

The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. The information you give helps decide how services are planned and funded in your local area. This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, housing or new bus routes.

It asks questions about you and your household to build a picture of all of us. It looks at who we are and how we live. There’s no other survey that gives as much information about our society and future needs.

When is it happening?

Census day is Sunday March 21. However, households will receive a letter in the post in early March, giving them details of how to take part in the mandatory survey. They will also receive a unique access code, inviting them to complete the survey online, although paper questionnaires are available on request.

Why should I take part?

The census helps us understand what our society needs now and what it will likely need in the future. The information it collects helps with decisions on the planning and funding of services in your area. This could include schools, doctors’ surgeries, emergency services or even local support groups.

Charities also use census information to help get the funding they need. Businesses use it to decide where to set up, which creates job opportunities.

How long will it take?

The census will take around 10 minutes per person to complete. It’s easy to do and can be done on any device, including a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

What if I don't speak English?

Translation booklets are available to download. If your language is not represented, please contact the customer contact centre on 0800 141 2021.

How can I get help to complete my questionnaire?

The help pages at www.census.gov.uk explain how you can get help. These include general guidance, language assistance and a wide range of accessible formats including video and audio guides. You can also phone the contact centre on 0800 141 2021 or visit one of our support centres offering assistance.

What happens if I don't complete my questionnaire?

You could face prosecution, a hefty fine (up to £1,000) and a criminal record.