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Last updated: 07 Apr 2021 4:34pm

Census Day is Sunday 21st March 2021 - make sure you complete your survey as there is a fine of up to £1,000 for failing to do so.

Published Friday, 19th March, 2021 in University news

The national Census is here and happening on Sunday 21st March 2021 for everyone in England and Wales. Head over to the website and complete your Census now.

What is the Census?

The census is a unique national survey from by Office for National Statistics (ONS) that takes place every 10 years and provides a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales.

All kinds of organisations, from local authorities to charities, use the information to help provide the services needed, including the environment, healthcare, transport and sports & leisure.

Why is it important that City students complete the census?

As the information is used by numerous organisations, this can impact on a number of areas related to student life, such as university campus bus links and bike lanes, jobs and training.

By completing the Census, you’ll contribute to the picture of what the needs of students are. You can read more about the benefits that information from the 2011 Census helped to create on the ONS website.

The Census, is also a legal requirement and by not completing it you can be fined up to £1,000.

When and how do you need to do it?

Whilst the official Census Day is Sunday 21st March 2021, if you’re confident nothing is likely to change you can already complete the Census (though you will need to answer how you would be as if it was Sunday 21st March). If anything does change you can contact the ONS to update your answer. If you’re unable to complete beforehand, aim to complete it as soon as possible after Census Day and remember you may face a fine if it is not completed.

You can head over to the Census website to start your survey. You should have received a 16-character code which you’ll need to submit for your household. As a student, you should be counted at both your term-time address and also your home address. If you, or others you may live with, have not been present at one of these addresses to receive your code, you can request it to be sent it via text.


For the first time in the Census’ history, there will be voluntary questions on sexual orientation and gender identity. The ONS hopes this will help improve policies and services for the LGBTQ+ community.

However, we understand not everyone may feel comfortable sharing this information with those they live with. Instead, you can request an individual code to start a separate census which will mean your responses will not me shared with anyone else in your household. Furthermore, no one will also be notified, you have requested an individual access code.

All individual submissions will take priority over any information submitted about you in the household census.

Where to go for support

If need help completing the census, you can visit the Census website and also contact the ONS. The ONS have also developed information specifically for students online.