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Census 2021

You must complete the census by law. If you do not, or if you supply false information, you could be fined up to £1,000.

2021 is census year. If not already done so, you need to complete your census form as soon as you can.

Still time to complete Census 2021

Even if you've missed Census Day, there is still time to complete your census.

Every household is required by law to complete the census. Even though Census Day – 21 March 2021 – has been and gone, it's not too late to complete a questionnaire if you haven't already. We've had a great response to Census 2021 so far, but everyone needs to respond as soon as possible to avoid a fine.

Complete your census

Most households received a letter in the post from Office for National Statistics by Saturday, 13 March 2021 which explained how to take part in the census.

This letter contained:

  • A unique code that you will need to complete the census online. It should take around 10 minutes per person to complete online. 
  • Information on how you can complete it online using your computer, phone or tablet. Every census completed online saves paper and taxpayers' money. Alternatively you can request a paper census online.
  • Details about when to complete the census by and how to access it in different languages and accessible formats, such as Braille.

Some households may have received a paper questionnaire and a freepost envelope to complete and return instead.

Start the census online

Request an access code

You'll need an access code to complete the census online. If you haven't got this you'll need to request one.

Help with your census

You can get help online, in person or by speaking to someone.

Online help: you can view lots of guidance and support on the Census 2021 website.

Speak to someone for help: you can speak to someone over the phone, on a web chat, by text message and more. How to contact someone for help with the census.

In person help: we've been given special permission to open the following venues to answer any questions you have. You can also access the internet for FREE to complete your application. You must wear a face covering when you visit, unless you're exempt.

Census support centres: you can ring any support centre for help and there are some centres you can visit for in person help. Support available includes help with general census queries, help to fill in your online census or paper form. The 2 census support centres in the borough are located at Wardleworth Community Centre and Mainway Insurance. View support centre addresses, opening times and more.

Empty houses need to be counted too

It's important we have a census return for all houses, even if nobody usually lives there – for example holiday homes and caravans - because it’s a census of housing as well as a census of population.

Local councils need to know about all houses in their area so they can plan services and work out how many new houses need to be built.

You can request an access code for your empty house, flat or caravan by following the link on this page.

What you need to know about the census

The census is a national survey that takes place every 10 years to give a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for planning and carrying out the census for England and Wales. We'll support them to undertake the work across the borough of Rochdale.  

The census information could be used by:

  • The government and local council - to help decide how services are planned and funded in your local area, such as doctor's surgeries, housing and bus routes.
  • Charities - as evidence when applying for the funding they need.
  • Businesses - to decide where to set up or expand.

By taking part, you’ll be helping make sure you and your community get the services needed now and in the future. Without the census, it would be much more difficult to provide the services you and your community need.

Some questions will be clearly labelled as optional - it's not an offence if you don't answer these.

Census 2021.


Census 2021 is managed by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Contact details for the 2021 census