Making sure Muslims count in Census 2021

Making sure Muslims count in Census 2021

The census is almost upon us and it is vital the Muslim community takes part. Run by the Office for National Statistics, the census 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 decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

Census day is March 21, with results available in 2022, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

The census will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity, with write-in options to allow everyone to identify their nationality, ethnic group and religion as they wish.

Census 2021 will highlight areas of deprivation, it will show the ethnic make-up of the country, it will provide information on our living arrangements, health, education and the jobs we do and the data from it will help inform policy at a local and national level for years to come.

Sofia Niazi is a community advisor in Luton and has worked on the last three censuses: “This is my third participation with the census and the first as a community advisor working with the Pakistani community. I am so excited to be reaching out to my community and supporting them in taking part. The census is so important to each and every one of us, and for me, it’s about improving my community now and in the future.

“The data from the census can inform a wide spectrum of services from housing and education to transport, healthcare and research. Within my local area, I have come across community groups that use census data to secure funding and support those in the area.

By completing the census, the local authorities are informed of their community make up, and in turn, can put in provisions to support them.”

Data collected from the census helps support local community groups and organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain. Zara Mohammed, Secretary-General at the Muslim Council of Britain said: “For us at the Muslim Council of Britain, the Office for National Statistics is a national treasure.

The census conducted every 10 years in England and Wales is invaluable both to public authorities and voluntary sector associations such as ours.

“The census gives policy and decision-makers the information needed for targeting public monies effectively. With census data, the Muslim Council of Britain has been able to identify pockets of deprivation and poverty to facilitate targeted policy interventions.

“The 2011 Census highlighted for us the younger age profile of the Muslim population and the need for boosting services for young persons and increasing their involvement in decision-making within community bodies. Census data on Muslim populations in hospital catchments also provided us with the evidence base to call for chaplaincy training and appointment of chaplains to serve the spiritual needs of patients and their families.”

Census 2021 will be the first to be run mostly 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, along with language support. People will also be able to complete the census over the phone with help from trained staff via our freephone contact centre.

The ONS aims to provide in-person support to complete the census online through Census Support Centres where it is safe to do so.

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