Every decade a census takes place. A census counts the population and households in a given area. The Office for National Statistics runs the census in England and Wales.
Everyone is asked to complete a confidential questionnaire about the same day – 27 March 2011 – so that a snapshot can be taken of the country on one day.
Census questionnaires are then turned into statistics which are used by government, businesses, academics and many other groups and individuals to help identify need and plan services and facilities for the future. Did you know, for example, that many household stores site their branches in areas where the census shows there is a need, supermarkets plan their car parking spaces and even local transport networks use census data to see who needs to get from A to B?
The census statistics feed into the fabric of society, but more than this, they also fund it. Financing from central government to local authorities is intricately tied to the number and characteristics of people living in an area, so with every census questionnaire completed and returned, a fair allocation can be made.
That’s why it is compulsory to take part, and also why the Office for National statistics has worked so hard on getting the right tools are in place to make sure that completing the questionnaire is straightforward for everyone.
Find out more atwww.census.gov.uk.