Census 2021

Census day was Sunday 21 March 2021. Census is a national survey that takes place once every 10 years.

The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. The information you give helps decide how services are planned and funded in your local area. This could mean things like doctors' surgeries, housing or new bus routes.

It asks questions about you and your household to build a picture of all of us. It looks at who we are and how we live. There's no other survey that gives as much information about our society and future needs.

Charities also use census information to help get the funding they need. Businesses use it to decide where to set up, which creates job opportunities.


The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published the first results from the 2021 Census. This data provides information on the population and the number of households in local authority areas in England and Wales. It contains the latest data on: 

  • Population - totals, age & sex breakdowns, and growth rates
  • Households - totals, change since the 2011 census, and average number of people per household
  • Population density - the number of people living per square kilometre.

How the population has changed

In Braintree, the population size has increased by 5.5%, from around 147,100 in 2011 to 155,200 in 2021. This is lower than the overall increase for England (6.6%), where the population grew by nearly 3.5 million to 56,489,800. It is also lower than the increase for the East of England (8.3%).

As of 2021, Braintree ranked 131st for total population out of 309 local authority areas in England, moving up one place in a decade.  The Braintree district is the 16th least densely populated of the East of England's 45 local authority areas, with around two people living on each football pitch-sized area of land.

Across the country the population has continued to age.  In Braintree, there has been an increase of 29.8% in people aged 65 years and over, an increase of 1.3% in people aged 15 to 64 years, and a decrease of 0.9% in children aged under 15years.

The ONS have produced some animations looking at which places have seen the biggest increases and decreases in population and how local authority areas like Uttlesford compare with others.

A visual has been produced by ONS which is helpful in understanding the change in the data for our district.    

Full dataset

You can see the full data set of estimates of the number of people by sex and age for all local authorities in England and Wales on the ONS website.

To explain the data the ONS have published a bulletin on the rounded population and household estimates for England and Wales.

Essex data

Essex County Council have published some analysis of the 2021 data covering the whole county and showing the change from 2011.

Later releases of results

In autumn to winter 2022 the ONS will be releasing topic summary results.

A topic summary is a set of data and supporting commentary, grouped by a similar theme. The topics will be:

  • demography and migration
  • ethnic group, national identity, language, and religion
  • health, disability, and unpaid care
  • housing
  • labour market and travel to work
  • sexual orientation and gender identity
  • education
  • UK armed forces veterans

Details of later releases can be viewed on the proposed outputs and release plans pages on the ONS website.

Keeping your data safe

No one can identify you in the published census statistics. Your census record is kept confidential for 100 years and only then can future generations see it. Find more information about how your data is kept safe on the census website.

The ONS have also produced an animated video about keeping your data safe that you can watch on YouTube. This provides information about data and security for Census 2021 and explains how the ONS protects your personal information.


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