The decennial census is almost upon us and, for the first time, people be able to say if they are a veteran of the armed forces.
The census, run by the Office for National Statistics, is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.
Among the new questions this time is one asking people whether they have served in the armed forces to support commitments made by central and local government under the Armed Forces Covenant – the deal between the country and those who served it.
One of the greatest challenges in addressing need is knowing where it is in the first place. Therefore, a better understanding of the numbers, locations and age ranges of our armed forces veterans will help the Government, NHS and service charity sectors target resources and expertise where they are needed most.
“A successful census will ensure everyone from local government to charities can put services and funding in the places where they are most needed,” Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said.
“This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, schools and new transport routes. That’s why it is so important everyone takes part, including those who have previously served in the armed forces, and we have made it easier for people to do so online on any device, with help and paper questionnaires for those that need them.”
Census 2021 will be the first run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code in March, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets. Paper questionnaires will also be available on request.
The census will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. Census day is 21 March 2021.
Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.
For more information, visit census.gov.uk.