In December 2018, the government presented to Parliament a White Paper Help Shape our Future: The 2021 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales (PDF, 967KB). This outlined the Office for National Statistics' (ONS's) proposal to collect information on: economic activity and hours worked; and occupation, industry and travel to work.

Data on economic activity and hours worked are collected to:

  • meet the needs of central and local government

  • develop strategies to promote economic growth

  • identify and address economic inequalities

Data on occupation, industry and travel to work are collected for many uses, including the derivation of the National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC), supporting local industries and workers, and planning and providing transport services.

Question development reports

On 28 August 2020 we published two question development reports on the topic of employment and work.

The Economic activity and hours worked question development report details the development of questions on:

  • employment activity last week
  • reasons for not working
  • looking for work
  • availability to work
  • waiting to start a job already accepted
  • ever worked
  • hours worked

The Occupation, industry and travel to work question development report details the development of questions on:

  • employment status
  • organisation name
  • job title
  • job description
  • main activity
  • supervisory status
  • method of travel to work
  • place of work
  • workplace address

Our Question and questionnaire development overview for Census 2021 report provides more detailed information on how we have developed and tested the overall look of Census 2021.

You can find out more about the design of the census, as well as the latest news and updates on progress towards census 2021.