Households across the Wychavon District will be asked to take part in the next census in spring.
Run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the census will be held on 21 March and is a once-in-a-decade survey that provides the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales.
Letters will soon be sent out with online codes explaining how to take part. It will be the first census to be run predominantly online, allowing people to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets.
Questions will include age, sex, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. For the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Data collected from the census will inform where billions of pounds of public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health – on cycle routes, schools and dental surgeries. Charities and voluntary organisations often use it as evidence to get funding.
It also helps businesses to understand their customers and, for example, decide where to open new shops. Plus, those doing research, like university students and people looking into their family history, use census data. It provides important information on population diversity, allowing organisations to know whether they are meeting their responsibilities and triggering action where necessary.
Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.
According to the last census in 2011, 116,944 people lived in Wychavon, 14.9% of people (8,750) worked mainly at or from home and the district was made up of 179 different ethnicities.
Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council, said: “The census is so important as it provides an understanding of the needs of our residents, as well as helps us to plan and fund our services in the future. It is mandatory for all households to complete the census otherwise there is a risk of prosecution, a hefty fine or even a criminal record”.
Iain Bell, Deputy National Statistician at ONS, said: “The census provides a unique snapshot of our communities. It benefits everyone. Based on the information you give, it ensures millions of pounds are invested in emergency services, mental health care, school places, hospital beds, houses, roads, GPs and dentist services. No-one should miss out. Everyone can complete on online with a new search-as-you-type ability and paper forms for those who need them.”
Visit www.wychavon.gov.uk/community-and-living/census-2021-information for more information.