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Public consultation is now closed 


Public Consultation on Questionnaire Content

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) invites submissions on the content of the questionnaire for the 2021 census.

In advance of the census the CSO traditionally consults with the public and interest groups on the topics to be included in the census questionnaire.  As the 2016 census was run as a no change census this is the first public consultation on the content of the census questionnaire since 2008.

The CSO will convene a Census Advisory Group (CAG), which will be comprised of representatives of Government departments, local authorities, public bodies, the social partners, universities and research institutes, as well as CSO personnel.  The CAG will examine the submissions and determine new questions or changes to existing questions.  There will be a Pilot survey held in selected areas in September 2018 which will test census enumeration procedures and the proposed content of the questionnaire. 

Please note the following

When making a submission for a new question, or a change to an existing question, please include the suggested wording for the question, bearing in mind ease of completion and avoidance of ambiguity in interpretation.  All submissions should include a detailed justification for each proposal with reference to the following:

  • The purpose of the user need and a description of the analysis that will be required
  • The specific need for the data at a small area level
  • The specific need for data for small population groups
  • Any legal or EU requirements for the data
  • The requirement for cross tabular analysis

A complete list of the 2016 questions, along with an indicator of whether or not the question is required under EU regulation (EC) No. 763/2008, can be viewed here Questions on the 2016 Census of Population (PDF 33KB)

View or download a copy of the 2016 census form Household form (PDF 2,170KB)

Further information on EU Regulation (EC) No. 763/2008 can be found here.

Next steps

Between November 2017 and April 2018 all submissions will be summarised and presented to the Census Advisory Group for consideration.  Feedback may be sought from different users of census data and sub-groups may be established to examine different topics in more detail.

In deciding on which questions to test in the Pilot survey the Census Advisory Group will take the following into account:

  • Commitments already imposed by EU regulation
  • Data already available from existing sources
  • Practicality (particularly the need to keep questions simple and unambiguous)
  • The need for the data at a small area level
  • The cost and burden of responses on householders


Results of Consultation

A report on the Pilot survey and the conclusions of the Census Advisory Group will be published on the CSO web site in early 2019.  The final content of the 2021 Census questionnaire will be subject to Government approval.

Please note that submissions may be published on and are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2014.

Closing date for receipt of submissions was 3rd November 2017.