It’s your chance to be part of Chelmsford’s history on Sunday by taking part in the census. The survey gives us a wealth of fascinating facts about the way we live now and helps us to plan for the future.

Local authorities use the census to help decide where to spend billions of pounds on projects like roads, schools and hospitals. Charities use the census to help them get funding, and businesses rely on its details to understand customers.

The Office for National Statistics runs the census in England and Wales; they say there’s nothing else quite like it.

“A successful census will help give the best picture of the needs of everyone living in England and Wales,”

“It helps us understand what our society needs now and what it will likely need in the future. It takes just 10 minutes per person to take part and if you can’t get online, there are paper forms available for those who need them. Now is the time to make your mark on history.”

Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics

“Digital-first” census

It’s a “digital-first” Census in 2021, which means that everyone should complete it online if they can. Unique access codes have been sent out to every household and we are all being urged to fill our forms in on Census Day itself.

The 2021 census is the most inclusive yet, and for the first time, there’ll be a question asking whether people have served in the armed forces. There are also voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Insights over time

When the very first census was carried out in 1801, fewer than 20,000 people lived in Chelmsford. That figure had grown to more than 168,000 people at the time of the last census in 2011.

An engraving of Market Day in Chelmsford from 1808
Market Day by Susannah Alston, 1808

The initial results will be released in about a year’s time by the ONS and we’ll get our first snapshot of 2021 Chelmsford then.

Don’t forget, it’s compulsory to fill in your census form, so if you need help, visit census.gov.uk or call 0800 141 2021.

Chelmsford in the last census

  • 168,310 people lived in Chelmsford, including 8,413 students
  • 1,745 people worked as nurses
  • 782 people worked in the construction and building trades
  • 1,076 people worked as sales accounts and business development managers 
  • There were 208 civil engineers 
  • Almost 48,000 of us used a car or van to drive to work
  • Nearly 11,500 people got a train, underground, metro, light rail or tram to work
  • Chelmsford was made up of 248 different ethnicities
  • India was the top country of birth after the UK
  • Polish was the most popular language other than English or Welsh, spoken by 642 people
  • There were 51 households with 8 or more people
  • 632 people said they were Jedi Knights

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