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National Census coming 21 March 2021

Market Place, Reading Town Centre

Census data will have a significant impact on Reading’s local infrastructure.

The National Census will take place on 21 March 2021.

Every decade, every household across the country is invited to take part in the Census, which collects information on housing and the population. Insight gained from the survey will help decide how services are planned and funded in your local area - this could mean things like improvements to doctors' surgeries, housing or new bus routes. The National Census has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

Is it optional?

You must complete the census by law or you could face a fine. You must also ensure that the information you enter is accurate.

Every student should also be included in the Census. Students will need to complete the Census for their University address, even if they are not currently living there. You can find information specific to students at

The survey contains a mix of mandatory and voluntary questions, and you will not be penalised if you do not complete the voluntary sections.

How do I complete it?

Every household should complete the census on 21 March 2021 or as soon as possible after.

This year, the Census will be fully digital. Each household will receive a letter with a unique access code in the post, allowing you to complete your questionnaire online. Alternatively, paper questionnaires will be available on request.

Where can I find out more?

If you're a local Reading resident, you'll be able to find out lots more information on Reading Borough Council's website, as well as their social media channels (@ReadingCouncil on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram).

You can also visit the government's Census 2021 page at, and information specifically for students is available at

How does this affect the University?

Insights gained from the Census can have a significant impact on local infrastructures, as data can affect how much funding local authorities and charities receive for key services such as transport, education and healthcare.

For our staff and student communities, and the local community that supports us, this could have a significant effect on Reading as a place to live, work and study.

As well as representing Reading as a member of University staff, we would be extremely grateful if you could help share the importance of the Census with your students. They may have many questions about filling it in, including which address they should use - please share the page to help answer student-specific queries.

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