An update from Atlas Mapping on the Census 2021 data release schedule


The UK 2021 census was carried out around March 2021 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, due to the disruption caused by Covid 19, Scotland had to postpone their census by a year, it’s also caused delays in the release of the data collected by the other countries too.

We’re pleased to announce that data has started to become available for England and Wales. Given the disparity in release dates of the data both within England and Wales, and between the different countries, it looks like we’re going to have to do a staged release. We’ll pop some more information below on estimated release dates.

Estimated release dates for England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland

The data is made available by three different entities that cover England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

England and Wales

England and Wales are the first to start releasing their data at the relevant geography. We’ve downloaded what’s available so far, although we anticipate that there could be some additional topics coming over the next couple of months too. We feel that we have enough already to start our work and can always look at adding the extra topics when they are released.

Northern Ireland

The planned final release for Northern Ireland’s data and relevant geography is to be staged over summer 2023.


Scotland postponed their census by a year, and they haven’t provided any estimated release dates yet. We expect to find out this year what their schedule will look like, but we imagine that we won’t see any data until 2024.

What’s currently available for England and Wales

The topics that we’ve managed to download data for so far are:

  • Demography and migration
  • Ethnic group, national identity, language, and religion
  • Labour market and travel to work
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Health, disability, and unpaid care

It’s worth mentioning that this data has been released in its raw format by the Office of National Statistics, we still need to carry out our own processing to get the data ready for use within Vision and our mapping projects.

Our next steps

Preparing the 2021 Census data for release is one of our highest priority projects and we’re already working on processing the available data and geographic boundaries to make this happen as quickly as possible. Please keep in mind that this is complicated and intricate work, and it’s important to us to make sure it’s correct and accurate when it releases.

Alongside the data work, we’re also having to process the 2021 boundaries for the Output Areas covering England and Wales. Due to the staggered release of the census data and boundaries from Scotland and Northern Ireland, it’s added a level of complexity that we haven’t had to navigate before.

The current plan is to release the data in three main stages. The first update will include the Census 2021 data and geography for England and Wales, followed by Northern Ireland and then eventually Scotland. That means that in the initial update, people wanting to use the England and Wales Census 2021 data, will have to continue using the 2011 data for Northern Ireland and Scotland.

There could be smaller additional updates in between these major ones that contain additional Census topics/demographics as they become available, like we mentioned for England and Wales.

Census 2021 Population and Household statistics for England and Wales


  • In 2021, the population in England and Wales was 59,597, 542. The largest ever recorded through a census for the countries, increasing by more than 3.5 million (6.3%) in 2011, when it was 56,075,912.
  • There were 30,420,202 women (51.0% of the population) and 29,177,340 men (49.0%).
  • The median age was 40 years (40 years in England, 42 years in Wales); this is higher than the median age of 39 years in 2011.


  • There were 24,783,199 households in England and Wales, this increased by more than 1.4 million (6.1%) since 2011, when there were 23,366,044.
  • 77.9% (19.3 million) were houses or bungalows, 21.7% (5.4 million) were flats, maisonettes or apartments, and 0,4% (104,000) were caravans, or other mobile or temporary structures.
  • 62.5% (15.5 million) of households owned the accommodation they lived in, 37.3% (9.3 million) rented their accommodation, and 0.1% (33,000) lived rent free.
  • In 2021, 23.3% (5.8 million) households had no cars or vans, down from 25.6% (6.0 million) in 2011.

Atlas Mapping Ltd

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