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    First Census 2021 results released

    The first results from Census 2021 have been released today (28 June 2022). These population and household estimates for England and for Wales, for each local authority district, will guide the planning of local and national services we all rely on.

    A record response rate of more than 20 million households across England and Wales completed their questionnaires in spring last year. Some 89% of responses to Census 2021 were online, which has provided the Office for National Statistics (ONS) with data of extremely high quality. The data provides a crucial baseline from which to measure changes in our society which will help us understand changing needs.

    The main findings of today’s release are:

    • The response rate to the Census exceeded expectations, achieving 97% overall and over 88% in every local authority.

    • On Census Day, 21 March 2021, the size of the usual resident population in England and Wales was 59,597,300 (56,489,800 in England and 3,107,500 in Wales); this was the largest population ever recorded through a census in England and Wales.

    • The population of England and Wales grew by more than 3.5 million (6.3%) since the last census in 2011, when it was 56,075,912.

    • The population grew in each of the nine regions of England and also grew in Wales; the region with the highest population growth was the East of England, which increased by 8.3% from 2011 (a gain of approximately 488,000 residents).

    • There were 30,420,100 women (51.0% of the overall population) and 29,177,200 men (49.0%) in England and Wales.

    • There were more people than ever before in the older age groups; the proportion of the population who were aged 65 years and over was 18.6% (16.4% in 2011).

    • There were 24,782,800 households in England and Wales on Census Day; the number of households increased by more than 1.4 million since 2011 (6.1%), when there were 23,366,044 households.

    These first census estimates on the size and composition of the population are hugely important as they underpin the calculation of national and local rates and measures; everything from the calculation of GDP, employment, wellbeing, and Covid-19 rates. These figures are essential to understanding social and economic changes in society. Over the next two years, Census 2021 data on ethnicity, religion, the labour market, education and housing will also be released. For the first time, they will also include information on UK armed forces veterans, sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Commenting on today’s release, CPC and Connecting Generations Director, Professor Jane Falkingham OBE, said: “Census data is essential to understanding our population, how many people there are, their ages and where they live. I welcome the publication of these new figures today which are vital to ensuring the research we do here at the Centre for Population Change is representative of the UK population, and that the measurements and forecasts we make are well-grounded.

    The UK Census has been world-leading in allowing the measurement of social change for 220 years. The Census 2021 is no exception in its innovative and practical use of digital completion during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is important to celebrate this achievement which improves British research, business and services.

    CPC’s research agenda has always been planned in collaboration with the ONS. In our new Connecting Generations projects we are continuing to collaborate on new projects that will utilise Census 2021 data and support future methodological innovation. Today’s Census shows that the proportion of older people in our population is continuing to grow, particularly at ‘very old’ ages, with 0.9% of the population now aged 90 and over. Overall we see that population size has grown mainly due to migration, which generally brings healthy working-age adults. Our research aims to understand connections between the generations and find out how older and younger groups support one another, especially during difficult times such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis.”

    Professor Falkingham appeared on BBC News to discuss the results:

    Professor Falkingham also spoke with Sky News and contributed to their analysis on the latest results in the article: Census 2021: How England and Wales have aged over the past four decades and was on BBC Radio Berkshire discussing how Berkshire's population has risen comparatively faster than the rest of the country.

    Jen Woolford, Director of Health, Population and Methods Transformation at ONS, said: “Every census has unique circumstances and provides a brilliant snapshot every 10 years. It was important to understand the population and its characteristics during the Covid-19 pandemic and early census data has already been used to understand more about vaccine uptake by occupation and to support the response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    “We recognise the population continues to change though, and the need to understand those ongoing changes. So, using a variety of data sources, we will be providing more frequent, relevant and timely statistics to allow us to understand population change in local areas this year and beyond. The results from Census 2021 will therefore provide a key bridge from the past to the future and we will be saying more on exciting developments in coming months.”

    Please visit the ONS website ‘First results from Census 2021 in England and Wales’ to view the full release.

    Posted 28/06/2022 11:27