Census 2021

The Census provides a detailed snapshot of the population and its characteristics once a decade. The last Census was conducted in 2011.

Delivering a successful Census 2021 in Milton Keynes

The Office for National Statistics – which runs Census 2021 – is working with Milton Keynes Council to deliver a successful census and help local services to fully meet future needs.

The census, taking place on 21 March 2021, will help government, councils and health authorities plan and fund public services like transport, education and health – from cycle routes and schools to green spaces and dental surgeries.

It will also shed light on the needs of different groups and communities.

What is the census?

The census is a survey that happens every 10 years and gives us a detailed picture of all the people and households in England and Wales. All kinds of organisations, from Milton Keynes Council to charities, use the information to help provide the services we all need, including transport, education and healthcare. Without the census, it would be much more difficult to do this.

How will the census make a difference to me?

The census makes a difference to everyone. It’s a chance to have your voice heard and help inform the future of your local area.  Milton Keynes is continuing to grow and in order for us to plan for the services that are needed by our residents, we need to have accurate information about who lives here.

Do I have to take part?

If you live in England and Wales, you must take part in the census. Census information helps inform how billions of pounds of public funding is spent. By taking around 10 minutes per person to fill in the census questionnaire, you will help make sure your community gets the services needed now and in the future.  If you don't complete your census questionnaire you could face prosecution, a fine (up to £1000) and a criminal record.

When should I fill in my census questionnaire?

Census Day is Sunday 21 March – but you can fill yours in as soon as you get your access code in the post. Your answers should be about the people who usually live in your household on this date – even if you’re filling it in before then. If your household circumstances change on Census Day, just let the Census team know by calling the national helpline.

Will the government use the information I share to identify me?

No. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) carries out the census in England and Wales. It only ever publishes anonymous information from the census. In fact, it’s a crime to share personal census information and anything you put in your census response is kept anonymous for 100 years.

Could information I share affect my benefits or immigration status?

No. The information you share in the census cannot be used to influence benefit claims, a residency application, immigration status or your taxes. The ONS is independent from government and Milton Keynes Council. This means officials dealing with payments or services you receive cannot see your census information. You can find out more here.

What if I do not identify with the census options?

The census asks you about your ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation, religion and national identity. It’s up to you to decide how you would like to answer each question. Do it in the way that you feel best represents you.

Why is the census asking me about my gender and sexual orientation?

This census asks voluntary questions about sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time. This is to give us more accurate information on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations. This will help organisations combat any inequalities these groups face and show where services are needed. We will only ask people aged 16 years and over these questions. If you do not feel comfortable identifying on the same form as the rest of your household, you can request an individual census questionnaire and answer separately.

What if I cannot fill in my census questionnaire online?

We know there are some people who will find this challenging. That’s why there is help with a wide range of support services.  The census team will make it easy for you, whatever your needs. Services include:

  • help for anyone over the phone - call 0800 141 2021
  • online information and web chat at www.census.gov.uk
  • social media on Twitter @Census_MK and @Census2021
  • online guidance and support in many languages or by calling the language helpline on 0800 587 2021
  • a paper version of the questionnaire, if you prefer, can be ordered online or by calling 0800 141 2021
  • accessible census guidance, for example, in braille, large print and easy-read

In Milton Keynes we also have a Census Support Centre being run by Great Linford Parish Council.  Anyone can call or email to make a free appointment with them.  They can either talk you through the census on the phone, or you can visit them and they will help you complete it online, in a Covid-safe way. 

  • To book an appointment call 01908 606613 or email glpc@great-linford.gov.uk
  • The location is Great Linford House, 1 St Leger Court, Milton Keynes. MK14 5HA.
  • Current information about opening times and services is available here https://census.gov.uk/en/find-a-support-centre/

The entrance to the Census Support Centre is through the main door where you will be provided with hand sanitiser.  Advisers wear masks and there is a Perspex screen to separate you and the adviser in a large well-ventilated but private room.  The room will be cleaned in-between clients and at the start and end of the day. 

Can I help friends and family fill in the census?

We’ve made the questionnaire as simple as possible. If a friend or family member needs support, help them if you can. Always fill in your own census first. You can also ask for help for yourself, or for someone else

Lisa Robson, Census Engagement Manager for Milton Keynes said:

"Census 2021 will be crucial in giving a snapshot of life in the 21st Century and during these unprecedented times.

Information from the Census makes a difference to the life of every single person in Milton Keynes as it’s used to plan and fund things that are important in our everyday lives; like maternity services, apprenticeship schemes, and nursery spaces locally.

Unfortunately, those who need the services built upon the data from the census, such as those provided by our great local charities, are often those who might struggle most to complete it.  Please encourage everyone to complete their census by using the support available at www.census.gov.uk

I’m really proud to live in such a diverse city - let’s ensure the 2021 census reflects all of Milton Keynes’ different communities.” 

Key facts the 2011 Census found:

  • The population in Milton Keynes in 2011 was 248,800 and has a younger age profile than England as a whole.
  • 26.1% of the Milton Keynes population are from a black and minority ethnic group. This compares to 13.2% in 2001 and 20.2% for England as a whole.
  • The number of Milton Keynes residents born outside of the UK more than doubled from 20,500 (9.9%) of the population in 2001 to 46,100 (18.5%) in 2011.
  • 15,800 residents say their day to day activities are limited a lot because of health issues. This is 6.4% of the population compared with 8.3% for England.
  • Milton Keynes is home to a large number of families. In 2011 35% of households in Milton Keynes had dependent children compared to 29.1% in England.
  • A growing proportion of dwellings in Milton Keynes are flats. In 2001 just 11.9% of dwellings in Milton Keynes were flats, by 2011 this had increased to 16.2% in 2011. However this is still below the proportion for England as a whole (22.1%).
  • There has been a growth in the proportion of households living in private rented accommodation in Milton Keynes. It grew from 9.2% in 2001 to 18.2% in 2011.
  • Levels of qualifications in Milton Keynes have increased considerably since 2001. In 2001 just 18.9% of residents aged 16+ had a degree or higher qualification in 2011 this had increased to 28.2%.
  • A higher proportion (68%) of Milton Keynes residents aged 16-74 are in employment compared with England (62.1%). However the proportion of people in employment declined slightly from 69.8% in 2001.

More information on the 2011 Census and past Censuses can be viewed via the Council's MKi Observatory website.

Last Updated: 12 March 2021