About the census
The Population Census is a survey of the country’s population that has been carried out every 10 years since 1801 (except in 1941 due to the Second World War). The Census covers millions of households as well as communal establishments, for example care homes. It includes British Citizens abroad on temporary postings with the armed forces, people sleeping rough, and visitors. It is a legal requirement that everyone be included in the Census. The latest Census took place on 27th March 2011.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for the Census in England and Wales.
The Census is very important as it is the most complete source of information about the country’s population. The survey asks everyone the same questions at the same time everywhere makes it easy to compare different parts of the country. The statistics that it produces are used by the Government and other organisations to plan housing, education, health and transport services for the future.
For more information about the Census, including notes about its reliability and an explanation of terms used, please see the ONS website.