'You can fill your form in now'. It's all systems go for Census 2021

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People in England and Wales are being invited to fill in their Census 2021 forms - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

You are now able to fill in your Census 2021 form online. Nick Richards spoke to Kerry Skelding and Paul Walmsley from the census team about this year's big event

Although Census 2021 day is March 21, from this week you can complete your information, but you must base it on the Census Day date.

So if, for example, you have students in your house heading back to university to resume their studies, you shouldn't include them on the form if they won't be living with you on March 21.

Census engagement manager Paul Walmsley, who is responsible for King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, North Norfolk and Breckland said: "You can fill it in at any time once you have your Invitation to Complete code.

"If you know what your circumstances will be on March 21, the message is that you can log in now and complete it for your household.

"It's a snapshot of March 21 so it's important to do it for that date.

"Older people like me, who may have done it before, will have traditionally filled it in on census day, there was no choice before, but in 2021, you can do it from now.

Census 2021 engagement manager Paul Walmsley

Census 2021 engagement manager Paul Walmsley - Credit: Submitted

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Paul's colleague, census engagement manager Kerry Skelding, who is responsible for Norwich, Broadland, South Norfolk and Great Yarmouth said: "The national media campaign is well under way and we have field staff out now.

"There are two teams -  a communal establishments team who will help enumerate hospitals, prisons, student halls of residence, hotels and care homes and then there's our household teams who deal with everything else.

"It has been a little complex as many students have been living at home and didn't return to their normal term-time address, so there are specific arrangements for students. The idea is that they are counted at their term-time address.

"There is a specific part of the website for students with pieces of information on what they should do and when they do it by.

Census 2021 engagement manager Kerry Skelding

Census 2021 engagement manager Kerry Skelding - Credit: Submitted

"Lots of thought has gone in to make sure the student picture is as close to reality as possible. In Norwich there is the Norwich University of the Arts and the UEA and Easton College who do have halls of residence. We've been in touch with them.

"We also have particular groups in the population that we are reaching out to who may need help filling in their forms, such as the elderly."

More: Everything you need to know about Census 2021

Emma Lomas, information and advice manager Age UK Norfolk said: “Older people in Norfolk may be unsure of what to do next when they receive their letter in the post, we know that not everyone has access to the internet and the support they might have had pre-Covid -19.

"If you receive your letter and you are unsure what to do next, we are here to talk you through your options.

"You can contact us on 0300 500 1217 Monday- Friday 10am-4pm,  please leave a message if our phone lines are busy and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

"Alternatively, you can email us at advice@ageuknorfolk.org.uk” 

We will remember them. Laying wreaths at this years Remembrance Day commemorations in Norwich. Pictu

A new question in Census 2021 will focus on military history - Credit: Archant

Bishop Dr John Mills RN, veterans chaplain, Royal Naval Association said they are keen to build up a picture of Norfolk's veterans as this year's census allows information to be recorded on military history for the first time.

He said: "It is important that all veterans from whatever branch of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces (anyone who has ever been issued an Official Military Number) take part to enable local authorities and the government to fulfil their obligations under the Armed Forces Covenant.

"An accurate count is especially crucial for veterans in our Norfolk rural communities and will help to plan programs and assess emerging needs for veterans especially those with disabilities, and those at risk of homelessness."

There are also, for the first time, questions asking people which gender they identify they with and also about sexual identity/orientation. 

Fiona Liew-Bedford, manager of Norfolk LGBT+ Project said: “It is great that sexuality and gender identity are include in Census 2021, and as a client said to me, 'it’s finally great to be finally recognised'.” 

From Monday, March 22, field staff will be out in the community following up any households who have not complete the information. They will all be easy to identify with Census 2021 branding and will operate within government Covid guidelines.

For more information: Watch videos, receive guidance, see how to get help, order a new code or paper copy and the helpline number see www.census.gov.uk/help

What we learned from 2011?

The UK population was 63.2 million, in 1801 when the first census took place it was nine million

There were 31 million men and 32.2 million women in the UK.

The estimated populations of the four constituent countries of the UK are 53 million people in England, 5.3 million in Scotland, 3.1 million in Wales and 1.8 million in Northern Ireland.

The population of the UK increased by 4.1 million (nearly seven per cent) between 2001 and 2011.

The population of the UK aged 65 and over was 10.4 million (16 per cent of the UK population) in 2011, 9.4 million in 2001 (16 per cent) and 2.2 million in 1911 (5 per cent).

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