What is the Census?
Every ten years since 1801 a census has been carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to find out more about the people who live in England and Wales and about the make-up of local neighbourhoods.
The next census will take place on 27 March 2011. ONS will be sending out questionnaires for around 25 million households to complete, asking about work, health, national identity, citizenship, ethnic background, education, second homes, language, marital status and so on. The answers will be turned into statistics used to build a picture of todayâ€™s society.
Why should this matter to you?
Census population statistics are really important in understanding peopleâ€™s needs and making sure all communities get the services they need where they live.
Itâ€™s simple. If the census canâ€™t see you, the organisations responsible for delivering the services you need wonâ€™t be able to see you either.
Government uses census population estimates to work out how much money to give each local authority to spend on public services. Local authorities use them to work out what kind of services they need to provide for people â€“ schools, hospitals, childcare, community care, transport and more.
What will you need to do?
Just answer a few questions about yourself and the people who share your household with you on census day, 27 March 2011.
Whatever you tell the census will be in strictest confidence and will only be used to produce statistics. ONS will not share your personal information with any other government department or organisation.
Youâ€™ll be able to do it online. Or by post. But you must do it. If you need help and advice, you will be able to find everything you need online and on the census helpline from 4 March 2011.
The census needs everyone to take part in helping tomorrow take shape â€“ and this will be your chance to make a difference.
For more information, visit www.census.gov.uk