2021 Census launches today

Date published: 01 March 2021

From today households will be able to complete their 2021 Census which will help shape where essential resources, funding and services will be focused over the next decade.

Census staff holding up a sign saying Census 2021 is here.
Dr David Marshall and Louise Clarke from Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) at the launch of Census 21

Census Day is 21 March. For the first time, the Census will be predominantly online and it is expected that the majority of householders will choose to complete their return digitally.

Encouraging everyone to participate, Registrar General Siobhan Carey said: “It is important that everyone takes part in the Census, which provides an accurate picture of the people of Northern Ireland.  The Census form is very easy to complete, taking less than 20 minutes per household and the results will help determine funding and services for the next ten years.

“Over the next few days, each household will receive in the post their invitation to take part. This will have an access code to enable the public to complete their census return online. You don’t have to wait until 21st March, once you receive your Census pack through the post, simply go here to complete the information for your household. While we would strongly encourage people to complete their Census online, paper forms are still available for those that need one.  Our Census teams will be available to advise anyone who needs additional support.” 

Emphasising the value of the Census, Siobhan added: “Just like managing our own households, only if you know the characteristics of the population can you make good decisions about the allocation of funds and services. The information gathered in the Census will be used by Government to help plan provision for health, education, transport and so much more.”

Everyone is required by law to complete the Census.  For more information and help on how to complete the Census visit here or call the Census contact centre on 0800 328 2021.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Delivery of initial census packs to 840,000 addresses (letters with access codes or paper forms) will take place from Monday 1 to Saturday 6 March. If no pack has been delivered by Wednesday 10 March then the public should go online here or call the contact centre to order their census pack.
  1. Census 21 is a digital first form and the majority of people are expected to complete online.  Householders also have the option to complete a paper census. A paper form can be ordered by calling 0800 328 2021. Our Census team is also available to advise anyone who needs additional support to fill in their Census. 

3.       There is a range of accessibility and language support available here.  This includes an easy read information leaflet, information videos in British and Irish Sign Language with voiceover and subtitles and details on how to order a large print questionnaire or Braille guidance booklet.  We have information leaflets and translation booklets in 17 languages and a Language Line for additional language support.

4.       Follow the Census on Twitter

5.       Media enquiries should be addressed to the Department of Finance Press Office on Tel: 028 9081 6724 or email dof.pressoffice@finance-ni.gov.uk

6.       Follow us on Twitter

7.      The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

 Photo caption:  Dr David Marshall, Director of Census and Louise Clarke, Census Engagement Team at the launch of Census 21!

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