What is the census and why does it matter?

Census 2021 is being held on 21 March 2021 in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) runs the census in England and Wales and is independent from the government. The survey happens every 10 years and provides accurate and up to date statistics and other feedback that can be used to help make decisions on services, such as healthcare, education, and transport.

Information about carers

The census also provides the opportunity to take a snapshot of the number of carers in Sheffield and the rest of the UK, which can be used at national and local levels to make the case for more services for carers. The Census 2021 contains a specific question (question 24 in England and Wales) on the provision of unpaid care:

“Do you look after, or give help or support to, anyone because they have long-term physical or mental health conditions or illnesses, or problems related to old age?”
Please note this question refers to caring for any person of any age. 

We’re encouraging everyone that provides unpaid care to tick yes to question 24 and help build a better picture about carers across Sheffield. We are also asking carers to use social media to remind others about the census and highlight the question about carers.

The CIRCLE centre at Sheffield University has made two excellent short videos (watch here) to help unpaid carers self-identify and include any hours they spend supporting a loved one in their 2021 census answers on 21 March.

How it works

Census 2021 is the first digital-first census and the ONS will post an “access code” to every household. To fill in the census online, households will enter the code into ONS website which states “the safety of your information is our top priority. You cannot be identified in the statistics we publish. The personal information you give us is protected by law.”

Click here for more information about how the ONS handle data, or click here for their answers to range of FAQs.