Developing the form

For resource reasons, Government decided in April 2014 that Census 2016 would be run as a ‘no change census’, i.e. the questions being asked would be the same as were asked in 2011, with the exception of the question on marital status (to take account of the introduction of same-sex civil partnerships in 2011).

This decision meant that the normal process for the development of the census form, including a public consultation on the questions to be asked and a pilot survey to test new questions and collection methods, was not undertaken for Census 2016.

The structure and content of the Census 2016 form therefore is almost identical to the form used in 2011.

How many questions?

  • The 2016 census form contains 30 questions (23 for children under 15), spread over 3 pages for each person. Of these 30 questions the first 23 must be completed in respect of everybody including children, while the remaining 7 must be completed by all persons over age 15 as appropriate to them.
  • The form contains enough pages for 6 people. In households where there are more than 6 people a separate Individual Form will be available to enter the details of the additional person(s).
  • There are also 11 questions relating to the accommodation of the household.
  • The number of questions is agreed by finding the right balance between the response burden on householders and meeting the needs of the users of census data.