Households across Ceredigion will be asked to take part in Census 2021 this spring.

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. It has been carried out every ten years since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

Understanding the needs of the nation helps everyone from central government to organisations, such as councils and health authorities, plan and fund public services across England and Wales. Census outputs inform where billions of pounds of public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health – on cycle routes, schools and dental surgeries.

Llanddewi Brefi, Llanon, Ponterwyd and Cardigan are making the most of their play and recreation areas thanks to census data, which helped secure a Welsh Government Rural Communities Development Fund (RCDF).

Data from the 2011 Census was used for a community area funding bid to demonstrate just how many local residents would benefit from improvements to the local play area. From staving off depression to having space to socialise and exercise, these play areas are invaluable in keeping communities alive and well. Led by Ceredigion council’s play development officer, Cathryn Morgan, approval was successfully won to enhance these public spaces.

The funding meant that they could refurbish two playgrounds, resurface a skate park, and transform a tennis court into a multi-use games area. 

Providing a safe and joyful area for people to gather, these revamped recreational areas play a vital role in the heart of Ceredigion’s community life.

Cathryn Morgan, Ceredigion County Council Families First and Refugees Coordinator, said: “Without the stats from the 2011 Census it would have been very difficult to pull together the evidence needed by the funding body to successfully get the grant.”

Meanwhile, the 2011 Census supported the identification of Ceredigion (and three other local authorities in Wales) as target areas for the £2 million Arfor Innovation Fund Scheme. Data from the previous census identified Ceredigion as a suitable area for the scheme, due to the county’s high proportion of Welsh speakers, and inflow of older people and outflow of younger people. Consequently, almost £500,000 has been made available by the Welsh Government to Ceredigion, to support Welsh language businesses and entrepreneurs in the area.

Census 2021 will be the first run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, said: “The census helps us plan and fund important public services like education, health and social care, public protection and transport. It is therefore very important that everyone in Ceredigion takes part to ensure that our communities are well served. Getting the best possible response rate for the census will make sure that decisions are based on accurate, high-quality data, and reflect the needs of Ceredigion’s residents over the next ten years.”

Census day will be on March 21, but households will soon receive letters with online codes explaining how they can take part. The census will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In Wales, households will also be asked a specific question about their Welsh language skills. And those who wish to complete the census in Welsh can do so both online and in paper form. There are "Cymraeg" and "English" buttons to switch between languages at any time online, and on paper you can use Welsh and English on the same form.

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 and advice on how to answer the questions, visit the Census website.