Thursday 9 December 2021
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Census 2021 Interactive Map: 89% of households responded online – see how your area performed

Use the map to see how your area responded to Census 2021.

Census 2021 was the first digital-first census in England and Wales.

In the 2011 Census, all households were sent a paper questionnaire, which also included an access code to enable people to respond online.

Just 16% of households chose this option. The use of digital services has increased dramatically since 2011.

A digital-first design for the 2021 Census encouraged participants to respond to the Census online rather than on a paper questionnaire if able to do so.

It provided several benefits, for both the respondent experience and the quality of the data. The digital-first approach also reduced impact on the environment and increased the efficiency of the data collection operation.

The priority for a census is to deliver population estimates that accurately reflect the makeup of the entire population.

To do this, Census 2021 needed to maximise response to the census and ensure that everyone was able to respond to the census in a way in which they were both willing and able.

As such, the operational and statistical design for the 2021 Census was centred around an inclusive approach. From a digital inclusivity perspective, this meant providing:

• a user-friendly, accessible, respondent journey

• paper questionnaires via an appropriate means for those who needed them

• support via Census Support Centres, on the doorstep and via our contact centre

A target was set of achieving at least 75% of responses to Census 2021 online.

The results far exceeded this target, with 88.9% of households across England and Wales that responded to the census choosing to do so online.

The mode of initial contact (whether sent a paper questionnaire or a letter with an access code) strongly influenced whether people responded online or on paper, with 46.4% of households in paper-first areas responding online, compared with 94.2% of households in online-first areas.