About the Census 

The Census takes place every ten years, and the next Census will take place on Sunday 21 March 2021. Conducted by the Office for National Statistics, the Census is the largest collection of information on the general population that exists. The Census aims to collect information from every UK resident, and every household will receive details on how to complete the form online or via a paper form in the coming months.

The Census covers many topics such as age, country of birth, distance travelled to work, employment, ethnicity, health, industry, language and lots more besides. It is a rich source of data for public sector organisations and others to help them make decisions on planning of services, develop strategies and decide on policies for the future – providing an evidence base to make sound decisions. 

Our work supporting the Census 

GMCA are working with the Greater Manchester local authorities to make this Census a success. Links are being made with the local Census Engagement Managers (CEMs) to assist in focussed action locally to maximise response rates. Regular meetings are being held with officers in the districts. Promotion work is starting so more are aware the Census is getting closer and we are in contact with the Census team at ONS attending their Census planning meetings.  

We will also start to promote the Census through our relevant channels, and links to job opportunities working on the Census are advertised on greater.jobs (external website, opens in new tab).     

The ONS will start to publish the key statistical outputs from the Census in Spring 2022. More detailed outputs will then be released by ONS in the period from Spring 2022 to Spring 2023. As the results are released, GMCA will publish more analysis of the statistics for you to download from this web page in the form of maps, charts, tables and reports. At first these will focus on the key demographics of the population and then will be focussed on topic themes as the detailed outputs become available. 

If you need help completing your Census form when it arrives in March 2021 or have not received a Census form by 21 March 2021 then visit: www.census.gov.uk/help (external website) or ring the Census Contact Centre on 0800 141 2021. The language helpline is: 0800 587 2021

How to take part

For the first time ever, we will be able to complete the Census online. Households across Greater Manchester will receive information through their letterbox about how to do this. This will include a unique access code, allowing you to complete the questionnaire on your computer, phone or tablet.

Census Day takes place on Sunday 21 March 2021. You can complete the Census as soon as you receive your pack – you don’t have to wait until the 21 March.

It’s crucial that all residents and households are counted, and extensive support is available for people who are unable, or would prefer not to complete it online.

Paper questionnaires are available for anyone who wants one and they can be requested by:

You can also request a paper version in large print, Braille and other languages.

Census staff are also available to carry out the Census over the phone, and using translators:

  • Appointments can be booked by calling the free phone number 0800 141 2021
  • Translators can be booked by calling the free phone number 0800 587 2021
  • Relay UK users dial 18001 followed by the phone number you need

Additional support and information:

  • Online: visit the ONS website – About the Census
  • By phone: call the free phone support centre 0800 141 2021
  • In person: Census Support Centres have been set up in local community venues where staff will be able to help answer general census queries, help you to fill in your online census or paper form, and discuss other ways to support you. All the centres are operating in a Covid-safe way.

Statement from Greater Manchester's LGBTQ+ Panel

For the first time in history, on 21 March 2021 the Census in the UK will ask questions about the sexual orientation and trans/gender identity of everyone aged 16 and over.

This is a landmark moment in the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people as it is the first time in the world that a national Census will collect data about people’s sexual orientation – and one of the first to collect data about people who identify as trans.

Being counted in the Census is important for the recognition and visibility of LGBTQ+ people in the UK. We are really encouraged that the government is recognising both sexuality and gender identity and we want to encourage the LGBTQ+ members of our communities to complete the Census this March and help the government build the truest representation of our identities that the UK has ever had. This year, those who may be closeted will still be able to have their voices heard. Anyone can request their own code to be able to fill in their data independently from their household on the Census website (opens in a new window).

This completely confidential process will override the household entry and will mean that everyone can be counted how they wish to be.

The Census data is used to allocate money to local authorities and to develop local and national policies so it is vital that the government has a complete picture of the identities, sexualities and genders of everyone in the UK.

In another first, the Census will be digital and every household in the UK will receive the information as to how to fill the Census in online and should do so by Sunday 21 March 2021. There will also be a dedicated telephone line to help people to fill out the Census if they are unable to do this digitally. Completing the Census is compulsory but some questions, such as the new ones on sexual orientation and trans/gender identity, are optional but we hope that as many people as possible will complete them and we want to reassure them that the data will be 100% confidential.

Support centres

Census support centres are available across Greater Manchester. Currently the centres are under Covid-19 restrictions and will open April 12. 

All Souls Church, Astley Street, BOLTON, BL1 8EY

Telephone: +44 (0)77 3566 8823

Email: assurance@flowhesionfoundation.org.uk

Attic Project, 3 Russell Street, BURY, BL9 5AX

Telephone: +44 (0)77 3365 5396

Email: atticproject86@gmail.com

Welcome Centre (Wai Yin), 18-32 Brentfield Avenue, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, M8 0TW

Telephone: +44 (0)161 513 4126

Email: census.support@waiyin.org.uk


Welcome Centre, Brentfield Avenue, Manchester, M8 0TW

Telephone: +44 (0)77 1263 3654

Email: hello@nmcp.org.uk


Wai Yin Society, 66-68 Swan Street, Manchester, M4 5JU

Telephone: +44 (0)161 833 0377

Email: census.support@waiyin.org.uk


Sheung Lok Wellbeing Centre, Justin Close, Manchester, M13 9UB

Telephone: +44 (0)161 513 4127

Email: census.support@waiyin.org.uk


Manchester City College Limited, 372- 376 A Dickenson Road, Manchester, M13 0WQ

Telephone: +44 (0)161 224 4564

Email: info@manchestercitycollege.org


Simpson Memorial Hall, 361 Moston Lane, Manchester, M40 9NB

Telephone: +44 (0)78 5979 5356

Email: hello@nmcp.org.uk


Benchill Community Centre, Benchill Road, Wythenshawe, Manchester, M22 8EJ

Telephone: +44 (0)73 5906 4308

Email: bcc@wchg.org.uk


Barlow Moor Community Centre, 23 Merseybank Avenue, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 7NT

Telephone: +44 (0)161 446 4805

Email: janette@barlowmoorca.co.uk


Manchester libraries that are open:

  • Central Library – 0161 234 1983
  • Abraham Moss Library - 0161 227 3777
  • Avenue Library - 0161 219 2393
  • Beswick Library - 0161 245 7241
  • Brooklands Library - 0161 245 7087
  • Chorlton Library - 0161 227 3700
  • Didsbury Library - 0161 227 3755
  • Gorton Library - 0161 227 3737
  • Longsight Library - 0161 227 3706
  • Newton Heath Library - 0161 234 4474
  • North City Library - 0161 219 6442
  • Withington Library - 0161 219 6442
  • Wythenshawe Forum Library - 0161 227 3770

Other libraries (except Northenden) will open from 12 April 2021.

Oldham Library, Greaves Street, Oldham, OL1 1AL

Telephone: +44 (0)161 770 8000

Email: oldham.library@oldham.gov.uk


Crompton Library, Farrow Street East, Oldham, OL2 8QY

Telephone: +44 (0)161 770 8000

Email: crompton.library@oldham.gov.uk


Adore training centre, Saddleworth business centre, Oldham, Lancashire, OL35DF

Telephone: +44 (0)77 2704 4580

Email: trainingadore@gmail.com

Mainway Insurance, 54 Milkstone Road, Rochdale, Lancashire, OL11 1EB

Telephone: +44 (0)77 2704 4988

Email: sultanmainway@gmail.com


The Flowhesion Foundation, Wardleworth community centre, South Street, Rochdale, OL16 2EP

Telephone: +44 (0)77 3566 8823

Email: assurance@flowhesionfoundation.org.uk

Eccles Mosque and Education Centre, 5 Liverpool Road, Eccles, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M30 0WB

Telephone: +44 (0)77 3566 8823

Email: assurance@flowhesionfoundation.org.uk


Binoh Community Centre, Binoh Community Centre, Leicester Hall, 115 Leicester Road, Salford, M7 4GP

Telephone: +44 (0)161 720 8585

Email: office@binohofmanchester.org.uk


SR Security Services Ltd Salford, Unit 16 Waters Edge Business Park, Modwen Road, Manchester, M5 3EZ

Telephone: +44 (0)16 1443 1322

Email: edutrainingcentre@gmail.com

The Heatons Centre, The Heatons Centre, Thornfield Rd, Heaton Moor, Stockport, SK4 3LD

Telephone: +44 (0)161 442 0442

Email: info@signpostforcarers.org.uk


Startpoint Coffee Shop, Startpoint Coffee Shop, 4 Woodley Precinct, Woodley, Stockport, SK6 1RJ

Telephone: +44 (0)16 1494 9947

Email: ryan@startpoint.org.uk

Ashton Library, Tameside One, Market Place, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 6BH

Telephone: +44 (0)161 342 2031

Email: alec.milner@tameside.gov.uk


Stalybridge Library, Trinity Street, Stalybridge, SK15 2BN

Telephone: +44 (0)161 342 2031

Email: alec.milner@tameside.gov.uk


Droylsden Library, Manchester Road, Droylsden, M43 6EP

Telephone: +44 (0)161 342 2031

Email: alec.milner@tameside.gov.uk


Denton Library, Town Hall, Market Street, Denton, M34 2AP

Telephone: +44 (0)161 342 2031

Email: alec.milner@tameside.gov.uk


Hattersley Library, The Hub, Stockport Road, Hattersley, SK14 6NT

Telephone: +44 (0)161 342 2031

Email: alec.milner@tameside.gov.uk


Hyde Library, Town Hall, Greenfield Street, HYDE, SK14 1AL

Telephone: +44 (0)161 342 2031

Email: alec.milner@tameside.gov.uk

St. Antony's Centre, Eleventh Street, Trafford Park, Manchester, M17 1JF

Telephone: +44 (0)16 1848 9173

Email: pcallaghan@stantonyscentre.org.uk


Stretford Public Hall, Stretford Public Hall, Chester Road, Stretford, Greater Manchester, M32 0LG

Telephone: +44 (0)161 989 1689

Email: friends@stretfordpublichall.org.uk

Astley Tots Plot surestart centre, Astley Tots Plot, Parkfield Avenue, Astley, Greater Manchester, M29 7EF

Telephone: +44 (0)1942 91 6900

Email: info@elysiumtraining.co.uk


Higher Folds Community Centre, Stirling Close, Higher Folds, Leigh, Lancashire, WN7 2UB

Telephone: +44 (0)1942 67 4548

Email: info@higherfolds.co.uk


BMH Training Limited, 85 Church Street, Leigh, Lancashire, WN7 1AZ

Telephone: +44 (0)1942 26 1342

Email: census@bmhtraining.co.uk



Census completion events with ONS (external link)

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) are holding Census completion events to help members of the public help fill in their Census forms.

There are 15 places available on each of the following remaining dates:

All times are 17.00-18.30.

  • Friday 9 April 2021

Online Help - Census 2021 Form Help Tickets, Multiple Dates | Eventbrite (external website)

All times are 16.00-18.00.

  • Thursday 29 April 2021
  • Tuesday 4 May 2021