herald

Friday 19 July 2019

Renewable energy and home working among questions on 2021 Census

The CSO’s Cormac Halpin thanked those who made submissions
The CSO’s Cormac Halpin thanked those who made submissions

The next Census, due to take place on Sunday April 18, 2021, will feature a variety of new questions.

Eight new questions will appear, on topics such as renewable energy sources, smoking, internet access and devices, smoke alarms, working from home, volunteering, childcare and transport.

Twenty older questions will also be updated, including those on religion, disability, ethnic group and the Irish language.

For the first time, the census form will include a "time capsule", where members of the public can write a voluntary and confidential message of their choice, which will be securely stored for 100 years.

Pilot

The Government approved the changes after an extended public consultation period.

Between October and November 2017, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) held a public consultation and invited submissions on what should appear on the 2021 Census form.

Members of the public, interest groups, Government departments, local authorities and other public bodies all made contributions. Research and academic communities also made submissions.

The submissions were considered by the Census Advisory Group (CAG). The group then agreed on questions to be tested in the Census pilot survey.

The pilot survey was carried out in September 2018 across seven counties in areas chosen as representative of the national population, and more than 10,000 households took part.

Cormac Halpin, senior statistician for the CSO, said the announcement brings an end to a phase of work that commenced almost two years ago with the public consultation.

"I would like to thank all of those who made submissions, and those who served on the CAG," he said.

"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, according to Mr Halpin.

"It drives policy, targets services where needed and informs our decisions at a time of continuing social change," he said.

"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 under way and securing Government approval for the date and questionnaire marks a major milestone for Census 2021."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News