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Census gives communities the chance to ‘shape the future of the city’

Engagement Manager for Sheffield says the census, which households are asked to take part in this Sunday, is ‘one of the best tools we have’ to better understand and respond to inequality.

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Harrison Qi

The data gathered in the upcoming 2021 census could give our city’s decisionmakers a fuller picture of the needs of communities and will affect the way public money and grant funding is spent for the next ten years, it has been argued.

Mandy Holden, Census Engagement Manager for West Sheffield, told Now Then that, as well as the 2021 census being the first one to ask questions about sexual orientation and gender identity, it will “shed light on the needs of different groups and communities”.

“By responding to the census, communities who have felt overlooked have the opportunity to have their voices heard and shape the future of the city,” said Holden.

“[The census] is one of the best tools we have to understand the very real inequalities that communities face and open up a meaningful, data-led discussion around what needs to be done to redress the balance.”

The census has been coordinated once every ten years by the Office for National Statistics since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

People will be asked to fill in the 2021 census online this Sunday 21 March using the access code sent to them in the post. A paper questionnaire or a new access code can be requested.

Results will be available within 12 months, but all personal records will be locked away for 100 years.

As Now Then reported last week, LGBTQI+ people who have not come out to their family, housemates or landlord can request an individual access code in order to override any data provided on their behalf.

However, a successful legal challenge by campaign group Fair Play For Women means that while people can self-identify their gender, only sex as listed on a birth certificate or a gender recognition certificate will be allowed.

Learn more

The Census should be filled in on Sunday 21 March or soon after. It will take around 10 minutes to complete and you will need your 16-digit access code, sent to you in the post.

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