We aim to release the first results for Census 2021 data on the population of England and Wales in late Spring 2022, and to publish all other main Census 2021 data within two years of census. Our proposed outputs and analysis release plans are detailed on this page.

Phase 1

Census 2021 first results

Census 2021 first results are likely to include unrounded population and household estimates for England and for Wales, at local authority level and cross-tabulated by sex and age. We aim to release these in late Spring 2022.

Topic summaries (mainly univariate data)

We will then begin a staggered release of simple topic summaries. The majority of tables that are released as part of each topic summary will contain data from just one variable.

We propose to cover these topics in the order listed:

  • demography and migration

  • ethnic group, national identity, language, and religion

  • sexual orientation and gender identity

  • health, disability, and unpaid care

  • housing

  • labour market and travel to work

  • education

  • armed forces veterans

All tables in this phase will be populated based on the usual resident population of England and Wales. Tables will not include totals or subtotals. The proposed table specifications for the Phase 1 releases are provided in the "Topic summaries" tab of Draft proposals for outputs data content (XLS, 623.9KB).

Area profiles

As with the topic summaries, the dynamic area profiles will be created using univariate data. Area profiles allow users to compare local and national statistics. They will be made available for all geographies where the data have already been published. We aim to provide the area profiles down to Output Area level. Output Areas are the smallest geography we will make the standard outputs available for. These are generally around 100 households in size. If it is not possible to provide area profiles at Output Area level because of operational issues, we will add additional levels of geography after they become available. These area profiles are similar in concept to those available within Nomis area reports.

The proposed area profile specifications are provided in the "Area profiles" tab of Draft proposals for outputs data content (XLS, 623.9KB),

Phase 2

Multivariate data for the usual resident population base

We will release multivariate data, based on the usual resident population of England and Wales. These releases will allow users to combine variables and explore relationships between the data. We will be introducing the ability for users to "build your own" tables from flexible datasets, as well as providing "ready-made" tables that users can access from pre-defined queries. Tables will not include totals or subtotals.

The capability to "build-your-own" tables from flexible datasets provides users with the opportunity to combine variables in new ways. The system takes a user's request, creates the output, runs statistical disclosure control checks on the data, and releases the data for the areas that pass these disclosure checks. This means that if data are requested for a set of areas, the data will only be provided for the areas that pass our checks. The proposed set of variables and classifications that users will be able to select from can be found in the "Build your own" tab of Draft proposals for outputs data content (XLS, 623.9KB). These proposals represent the types of data that users can request. 

Most "ready-made" tables will be made available down to Output Area. These tables will be available for all areas within the geographical level they are released for. The proposed specifications for the "ready-made" tables are provided in the "Ready-made" tab of Draft proposals for outputs data content (XLS, 623.9KB).

Phase 3

Alternative population bases, small populations, origin-destination and microdata

We will release data tables for:

Alternative population bases

Alternative population bases are different geographical locations where individuals could have been counted for Census 2021. Examples of alternative population bases include workplace, workday, out-of-term and short-term populations.

Small populations

Small populations are groups which are defined by their cultural background, including characteristics such as ethnic group, country of birth, religion and national identity. We will create bespoke tables for specific small populations, at all geographies where the number of that population exceeds a set threshold. Examples of small populations we are committed to producing tables for include Cornish, Kashmiri, Nepalese, Sikh, Ravidassia and Jain. Due to the relatively small sizes of these populations, we are unable to release detailed information on these groups in the standard outputs because of confidentiality constraints.

Origin-destination data or ‘flow’ data

Origin-destination data describes the movement of people from one location to another. Examples of origin-destination data include migration flow data, workplace flow data, second address flow data and student flow data. Origin-destination data will be classified in three ways: public, safeguarded, or secure. More information can be found on the origin-destination webpage.


Microdata are samples of anonymised records for individuals and households, which include a selection of associated census characteristics. Microdata samples will be classified in three ways: public, safeguarded or secure. More information can be found on the microdata webpage.

Beyond March 2023: UK data

The censuses of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland took place on 21 March 2021. Because of the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), to secure high-quality outputs, the Scottish Government moved Scotland's census to March 2022. This means that there is a one-year difference in reference dates and that the first outputs of Scotland's data will not be published before March 2023. 

All of the UK census offices are working closely together to understand how this difference in reference date will affect our ability to produce UK data. We have also set up a UK census data user working group, to help inform our plans for a set of UK outputs. More information can be found on the UK Census Data webpage.

Census 2021 analysis proposals

All Census 2021 data releases will be published with statistical commentary or detailed analysis. The analysis will develop in complexity as we publish more detailed data. 

We have grouped our proposals for census data analysis by topic, outlining the type of analysis we plan to do, the purpose of this research, and an indication of when it will be published. Read more about our proposed Census 2021 data analysis.

More information

From 13 July to 5 October 2021, we held a public Census 2021 outputs consultation asking the census users to provide feedback on these release plans. We are currently undertaking a full evaluation of all the consultation responses. In the new year, we will publish our updated plans for the for first release phase of Census 2021 outputs. These plans will consider the feedback we have received in this consultation.

To find out more about our Census 2021 outputs release plans, email us at census.outputs@ons.gov.uk.

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