Tower Hamlets gets ready for census count for real after rehearsal

Getting ready for 2021 national population count

East End getting ready for 2021 national population count - Credit: National Census Office

Council officials are gearing up ready for the national population census that takes place every 10 years to give local authorities like Tower Hamlets a snapshot to help plan public services. 

The East End already has had a trial run when Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney were selected with two other local authority areas in 2019 to test how the big count was to be carried out. 

The town hall is appealing for every household to return their question forms when Census Day arrives, which is a legal requirement. 

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs... "Everyone must be counted."

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs... "Everyone must be counted." - Credit: Mike Brooke

“It’s really important that everyone fills in the census,” Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs urged. “Everyone must be counted so that we get our fair share of funding. We don’t want to miss out.’’ 

The census is to work out where government funds are needed in the next decade for services like transport, schools, hospitals, GP services and social care.  


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Every uncounted person in London’s estimated nine-million population means up to £1,400 could be lost in government funding, the town hall stresses. Even a relatively small “undercount” of 10,000 could lose £143m over the next 10 years, it is pointed out. 

The census rehearsal took place in October 2019 using Poplar’s Wigram House and Bromley-by-Bow community centres. 

Dipen Rajyaguru... organised East End's census rehearsal in 2019

Dipen Rajyaguru... organised East End's census rehearsal in 2019 - Credit: Census Office (inset) and Google

Dipen Rajyaguru who co-ordinated the rehearsal, said at the time: “The census makes sure the decision-makers can plan for changes and to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.” 

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Any personal household information is kept under lock and key for the next 100 years, with details not available until the year 2121. 

The 2021 census is collecting information on Armed Forces veterans for the first time and includes voluntary questions on sex and gender identity. 

It is primarily online with households getting letters next month with their own unique codes to complete the questionnaire on computer, phone or tablet. Those unable to go online get a paper questionnaire through the letterbox to fill out instead. 

The Census 2021 website is being updated with details of a contact centre opening on March 1, on 0800 141 2021, as well as email or text message. The council’s webpage will also have updates. 

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