Census 2021: Liverpool residents urged to complete survey

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Many hands make light work: Saturday's event was open to people of all ages. Pic © Ash Rowe JMU Journalism

Census 2021 aims to get a current snapshot of people living in England & Wales. Pic © Ash Rowe JMU Journalism

Nearly a quarter of people living in Liverpool have already completed their census questionnaires ahead of Sunday’s Census day.

Officials from the Office of National Statistics expect 90 percent of the people in the city to participate in the first ever mostly online census to be carried out in England and Wales.

They are hoping that between 75 percent and 80 percent of people in the city complete their forms online this Sunday, March 21.

About 115,000 people in Liverpool have already participated.

Gail Harrison, one of the three Census engagement managers for Liverpool, said: “The idea is that the census, which is carried out every 10 years, is completed as near to that date as possible so that it gives an accurate picture of how we are living and our personal situations on that specific day.

“The Census is for all of us, and unless we can complete it accurately, the needs of all of us as a society aren’t going to get met.”

Gail Harrison discusses the challenges of moving online through the Covid-19 pandemic>>>

Answers to the census will be used to draw statistics about the social make-up of Liverpool and aim to inform future government decisions over the distribution and funding of public services such as education and healthcare in England and Wales

The latest edition of the questionnaire includes several questions that are new to the census. This year people will be able to inform the ONS about whether or not they have served in the UK armed forces, their sexual orientation, and their gender identity. There is also a new category for people of Roma ethnicity.

People completing the census will be able to register a gender in line with their gender recognition certificate for the first time. @JMU Journalism

The team trying to encourage communities in Liverpool to take part in the census face a challenge as over 15 percent of the city population is not likely to have used the internet recently. According to figures from the ONS, in 2019, 76,200 people in the city had not surfed the internet in a period of three months or more.

Census engagement manager Stephen Stewart said: “If people are unable to use the internet, they can ask for a paper copy and complete it in what people would describe as the old fashioned way.

“Our job from last September has been to make people aware of the fact that the census is coming. The next part is about engaging with different groups irrespective of whatever community they come from. And after Sunday comes the follow-up process.”

The next few months will see ONS officials going around the city reminding households that did not complete their forms this weekend to fill them in.

They will do this following the latest government guidelines on Covid-19 and wearing personal protective equipment and will not enter people’s homes.

Those who fail to complete the census can face a fine of up to £1,000.

Stephen Stewart explains how the Census team is working to capture ethnic diversity in the survey>>>

Anybody can complete their census now at: census.gov.uk

About Jorge Capera Holguin, JMU Journalism