The 2021 Census is taking place on Sunday 21 March 2021.

It will include questions about sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity. Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

Digital entry

This year, for the first time, people are being encouraged to fill in their details digitally, However, for many people, digital isn’t a viable option, or there are other barriers that could prevent them from participating. There will be help available for people to complete the Census, including call centres, support census (for face to face support), text service and online completion events. Field staff will visit households who have not returned the Census to offer support and advice in a Covid safe way.

The Voluntary Sector has links with many of the people who could find it difficult to fill in the census online, and we have been asked to support efforts to include them. These groups inlcude:

  • older people
  • people with no fixed address, or who are homeless
  • gypsy and traveller families
  • people who do not speak English as their first language (or at all), particularly Eastern Europeans
  • people for whom digital access is difficult or impossible
  • people with disabilities that might make it hard to fill in or understand the form
  • low income families
  • students

Resources in other languages and formats

The ONS has produced downloadable resources in different languages and formats, including film and social media, to help reach these groups. You can download it here, and filter for different languages or formats to suit the people you’re working with.

This is the large print version, which explains the support available to groups with hearing impairments, learning disabilities, sight impairments, and more.

You can request an Easy Read leaflet for people with learning disabilities, by post, via the ‘contact us’ page on the Census website.

Support for local groups

John Floyd, one of the two local ONS staff responsible for encouraging take-up, has provided us with a one-page guide for completing the census questionnaire, which you can download.

There is also an offer to deliver online presentations to help people fill the questionnaire in, which can be given to local groups which are meeting online. If you would be interested in taking up this offer, for your group, please contact John direct. john.floyd12@field.census.gov.uk 


This year, it will be possible to choose ‘other’ and type in ‘Cornish’ as your ethnicity/nationality, if you wish to do so.

Please click here to see the Census briefing supplied by the Office for National Statistics for Cornwall partners.