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Armed Forces veterans to be counted in Census 2021

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The 2021 census takes place in March and, for the first time, people will be able to say if they are a veteran of the Armed Forces.

The census, run by the Office for National Statistics, is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales.

Among the new questions in the census is one asking people whether they have served in the Armed Forces. Having a better understanding of the numbers, locations and age ranges of the nation’s veterans will enable the Government, NHS and service charities to target resources and expertise where they are needed most.

As many as 1 in 10 people in the UK are members of the Armed Forces Community, but there is currently very little information about where they are located or what their needs are. This question will ensure the best service possible can be delivered to veterans and their families when and where it is needed most.

Minister for Defence, People and Veterans, Johnny Mercer said: “I urge all ex-service personnel to take advantage of the opportunity to identify as a veteran in the upcoming census. "Better data means better support and the census is a key step in ensuring that public services support veterans in the best way possible."

The census on 21 March will shed light on the needs of different groups and communities, and the inequalities people are experiencing, ensuring the big decisions facing the country following the pandemic and EU exit are based on the best information possible.

Census 2021 will be run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code in March, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets. Paper questionnaires will also be available on request, while there will be lots of support available for those who need it.

Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

For more information about the census, visit