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Press Statement


10 July 2019

Press Statement Census 2021 date and questions approved by Government

  • The next census will take place on Sunday the 18th of April 2021
  • Eight new questions, including renewable energy, smoking, volunteering and childcare
  • Many questions updated, including those on religion, disability, ethnic group and the Irish language
  • New voluntary Time Capsule for people to write a confidential message of their choice
  • The Central Statistics Office (CSO) is pleased to announce that Government has decided that the next census will be held on Sunday the 18th of April 2021. Government has also approved the questions that will appear on the census form.

    Between October and November 2017, the CSO held a public consultation and invited submissions on the content of the form for the 2021 census. Members of the public, interest groups, Government Departments, local authorities and other public bodies, as well as the research and academic communities, made over 400 submissions to the CSO. These included suggestions for new questions and changes to existing questions on the form.

    The submissions were considered by the Census Advisory Group (CAG) (see Editor’s note) which agreed on the questions that should be tested in the Census Pilot Survey. The Pilot was carried out in September 2018 in 35 Enumeration Areas across 7 counties. These areas were chosen to be representative of the national population, and over 10,000 households participated in the pilot.

    Following an examination of the Pilot results, the CAG recommended the introduction of 8 new questions in Census 2021. The new questions will be on renewable energy sources, internet access and devices, smoke alarms, smoking, working from home, volunteering, childcare and travelling home from work, school or college. Changes were agreed to 25 existing questions including disability, ethnic group, religion and the Irish language.

    The 2021 census form will also include a Time Capsule for the first time. This will enable members of the public to write a voluntary and confidential message of their choice which will be securely stored for 100 years.

    Commenting on the consultation and Pilot Survey, Cormac Halpin, Senior Statistician, said: “Today’s announcement brings to an end a phase of work that commenced almost two years ago with the public consultation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who made submissions, and those who served on the CAG. I also want to record my appreciation for the thousands of people who participated in and those who worked on the Pilot last year. Their combined efforts and support have helped to produce a census form with many changes, that will provide a rich source of information on our society and economy, including important new areas and issues such as renewable energy, smoking and working from home.

    The value of the statistical information provided by the census cannot be overestimated. It drives policy, targets services where needed and informs our decisions at a time of continuing social change. There is an international element to the next census as every other EU member state will also be required to carry out a census in 2021. With less than two years to go, the preparations are well underway and securing government approval for the date and questionnaire marks a major milestone for Census 2021.”

    Editor's Note:
    • The Census Advisory Group (CAG) included representatives from Government Departments and local authorities, the social partners, universities and research institutes, interest groups and other relevant bodies and CSO staff.
    • There was no public consultation or pilot survey prior to the 2016 census, therefore the changes that have now been agreed are the first substantial changes to the census form since 2011. [Note: there were some changes to the form in 2016 – see here]
    • The comprehensive report on the public consultation and subsequent pilot is available from the Consultation 2021 page here.


    Note: This press release was amended to include a link for the Pilot Survey report once published on 17th July 2019

    For further information contact:

    Cormac Halpin (+353) 1 895 1343

    or email

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