Working together to deliver a successful Census 2021 in Birmingham

Published: Monday, 15th February 2021

The Office for National Statistics – which runs Census 2021 – is working with Birmingham City Council to deliver a successful census and help local services to fully meet future needs.

The census, taking place on 21 March 2021, will help government, councils and health authorities plan and fund public services like transport, education and health – from cycle routes and schools to parks and dental surgeries.

It will also shed light on the needs of different groups and communities, and the inequalities people are experiencing, ensuring the big decisions facing the country following the coronavirus pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible.

Birmingham’s diverse Census engagement team, who speak a wide range of languages including Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, Mandarin and more, will be working with local communities across the city over the next few months to ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate.

Nathan Freeman, Census Engagement Manager for North Birmingham said:

"Census 2021 will be crucial in giving a snapshot of life in the 21st Century and during these unprecedented times.

“Information from the Census makes a difference to the life of every single person in Birmingham as it’s used to plan and fund things that are important in our everyday lives; like maternity services, apprenticeship schemes, new bike lanes and nursery spaces locally.

“Because these things matter to all of us, everyone must complete the Census. The data is made anonymous and personal information is locked away for 100 years, so it cannot be seen by government officials dealing with applications you’ve made, or through the payments and services you receive.”

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Councillor Ian Ward, said:

“Census information helps decide how vital services are planned and funded across Birmingham. So, whether it’s improving bus routes, schools, parks or NHS services locally, everyone benefits from taking part.

“These past twelve months have been immensely challenging, but we shouldn’t forget how important it is to stand up and be counted. I urge the people of Birmingham to fill in the questionnaire and help their communities to get the resources and services they need for the next 10 years and beyond.”

In March, UK households will start receiving letters with access codes explaining how they can complete their census online. Paper questionnaires are also available on request. In areas where lower online completion is expected, around 10% of households will receive a traditional paper form through the post.

The census can also be completed over the phone with assistance from trained staff via the ONS’ free phone contact centre.

The main census field operation is due to start after Census Day on 21 March, contacting those who have not responded. Field staff will be socially distanced, wear PPE and work in line with all government Covid guidance. They will be operating in the same way as a postal or food delivery visit, and not entering any households.

Census 2021 will include questions about 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 in 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years and kept safe for future generations.

For more information and advice on how to answer the questions, visit To organise support and awareness on filling out the census in your community, in a range of languages, contact Nathan Freeman at



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