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Census 2021

The next census takes place on Sunday, 21 March 2021.

You should receive a postcard in the post by Wednesday, 3 March 2021 letting you know the census is coming.

Complete the 2021 census online

Census 2021 is the first census to be mainly online. Most households will receive a letter in the post between Wednesday, 3 March 2021 – Saturday, 13 March 2021.

This letter contains:

  • A unique code that provides access to an online questionnaire. It’s easy to complete online - you can complete it using your computer, phone, or tablet.
  • Information about how to complete the census and how to access it in different languages and accessible formats.

However, some households may receive a paper questionnaire to complete and return to the census office in the post instead.

Get help to complete 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: the following locations have special permission to open to the public to provide Census 2021 support from Monday, 8 March 2021.

You can access the internet for FREE and staff can answer any questions you may have. You must wear a face covering when you visit, unless you're exempt.

Job opportunities

A range of temporary jobs are on offer in Greater Manchester during the build up to the census, from field staff to census officers and communal establishments officers. These jobs are advertised on the census jobs recruitment website.

  • Census 2021 temporary jobs - view current vacancies, application information and hear the views of people who’ve worked on the census before in a series of videos

What the census is

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.

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.

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

More census information on the Office for National Statistics website

Census 2021.


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

Contact details for the 2021 census