Count them in - Census 2021

Making the census count

The Government’s official statistics body, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), along with their devolved equivalents, are already starting to plan what questions will be in the next UK census.

After the 2011 census we knew more about the Jedi population of the UK than about those who have served in our Armed Forces! Despite an estimated 1 in 10 of the UK population being members of the Armed Forces community, there's very limited information about where they are or what their needs might be.  

We have a once in a generation opportunity to change this. By adding new questions to the 2021 census we can improve our understanding of this unique community and ensure that politicians, charities and service providers fully meet the needs of our serving personnel, veterans and their families.

We count on them – let’s count them in.

Latest update

In December 2018, the Cabinet Office published a White Paper concerning the 2021 Census, including suggested content. We’re pleased to report that the White Paper confirms the Government’s intention to recommend to Parliament the inclusion of a question on the Armed Forces community in the next census in England and Wales, and includes a reference to the Legion’s campaign! This followed an earlier pledge of support from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which manages the census in England and Wales, in 2017. 

In September 2018, the National Records of Scotland (NRS) recommend that the Scottish Government included an Armed Forces question in the Scottish census. 

The Legion is greatly encouraged by these positive developments, and by the progress being made in recognising the Armed Forces community in the census in Northern Ireland, although no final decision has yet been made. We now look to a positive announcement from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), and ultimately to Parliament’s approval of the content of the 2021 Census later this year.

We would like to thank all those who supported our campaign – whether individuals, organisations, councils, or government departments. Please keep checking back for updates and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to find out how to get involved with the campaign.

Your voice

Chris Skidmore MP is the Minister responsible for the 2021 Census. Please ask him to commit to including a question on the Armed Forces community in the next census.

Support our campaign today and make sure that we count our Armed Forces community in.

Our growing support

To date, more than 200 MPs have pledged their support, along with more than 150 local authorities and numerous academic institutions and military charities, including:

  • Poppyscotland
  • Help for Heroes
  • RAF Benevolent Fund
  • Forces in Mind Trust 
  • Forces Pension Society
  • CAIS / Change Step
  • British Forces Resettlement Services
  • Army Families Federation
  • RAF Families Federation
  • Naval Families Federation
  • Blesma
  • SSAFA
  • The King’s Centre for Military Health Research
  • Walking with the Wounded
  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Northumbria Universities’ Hub for Veteran and Military Families Research
  • Combat Stress
  • Royal British Legion Industries
  • and many more

To support our campaign or for more information, please email publicaffairs@britishlegion.org.uk.

Invisible veterans

For the launch of our #CountThemIn campaign, an art project featuring four veterans painted into their surroundings, highlighted how they are invisible amongst the general population in the current census. View the images and how they were created here.

Support our Armed Forces with a photo

Why not download our pledge card for a census selfie? Don't forget to use #CountThemIn so we can display them below. 

Download the pledge card in English (pdf)

Download the pledge card in Welsh (pdf)

#CountThemIn

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