The census for England and Wales is carried out by the Office of National Statistics every 10 years, with the aim of building a detailed snapshot of society.

The census covers a variety of areas, divided into the following topics:

  • Demography and migration

  • Ethnic group, national identity, language, and religion

  • Health, disability, and unpaid care

  • Housing

  • Labour market and travel to work

  • Sexual orientation and gender identity

  • Education

  • UK armed forces veterans

Since 1920, the census mandatory in England and Wales, with a £1000 fine for failing to complete the census, or providing incorrect information. However, some of the questions, namely those relating to sexual orientation and religion are optional. All information is anonymised and the actual census records are kept secure for 100 years.

The results of the census are used by a variety of organisations and individuals to aid and guide their work. This includes local authorities, businesses, and voluntary organisations, as well as academics and genealogists.

The first results of the 2021 census will be released on the 28th of June 2022. Read more about the Census 2021.