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Featured - Census 2021

You have until 17 May to complete the Census online, but you can still complete a paper form after this date.

Start census 

The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

It will be run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets.

If you, or someone you know, needs help completing your census, please contact our Census Support Team on 01305 221028 (local call charges apply) from 22 February. Trained advisers from Dorset Council’s libraries will be helping people complete their census form over the telephone during lockdown, with face to face appointments available if and when COVID-19 rules allow. Local help to complete the census 

Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at Office for National Statistics, said: “A successful census will ensure everyone from local government to charities can put services and funding in the places where they are most needed.

“This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, schools and new transport routes. That’s why it is so importtant everyone takes part and we have made it easier for people to do so online on any device, with help and paper questionnaires for those that need them.”

Census day is March 21, but households will receive letters with online codes allowing them to take part from early March.

Although the census is ‘digital first’, paper questionnaires and a range of support will be available for those who need it. A trained census team will be available to help people complete the census over the phone via a free phone contact centre. All details will be provided in the letter. 

A census field team will follow up with households who have not completed their questionnaire after census day. The census field operation will be carried out without anyone needing to enter a home. All contacts with the public will be socially distanced and census field staff will be equipped with PPE in line with government guidance.

Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

For more information, visit

Census 2021

About the Research team

The Research team is responsible for meeting the evidence needs across the Council, linking this to policy development and providing a better understanding of our communities and residents. Research specialisms in the group include demography, the Dorset economy, the environment, population forecasting and modelling, deprivation, community data, customer insight, national and local government policy, mapping, equalities and diversity, and analysis and support of GIS.

With a wide range of skills and information available, the team are happy to help with any questions that you may have or interpretation required.

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