June 5, 2023

The Census 2021 data for England and Wales is here. We recommend that you read this article for more information on how to update, what support is available, and what to expect from the update.

What's available?

The 2021 census data for England and Wales is available at the following geographies:

  • Postcode Sector, Postcode District and Postcode Area (2022 versions)
  • Wards and Local Authority Districts (2022 versions)

Scotland and Northern Ireland will still reference Census 2011 data until they release the updated data. We will still need additional time to process it and make it ready for Vision and mapping projects. We now plan to combine the Northern Ireland and Scotland updates into one larger update, which we'll aim to release in early 2024.

Unfortunately, due to the complications surrounding the Output Area geography, we have to postpone this release until we have the Scotland and Northern Ireland equivalents.

Area geography

How to update?

To access the England and Wales Census 2021 data, you will need to update to the 2022 versions of the Postcode geography and Ward/Local Authority Districts. We will NOT release the new census data for any previous versions.

Different update options are available depending on what geography you use within Vision. The image below shows the update paths for Postcode and Administrative geography.

Administrative Geography

Administrative Geography

Due to the changes made to the Administrative geography between censuses, we’re having to carry out these updates on your behalf. When you’re ready to update, contact us, and we’ll schedule an update date and time to move you across.

We've created a few documents to help our clients understand and manage the changes in Wards and Local Authority Districts, which you can find here.

Postcode Geography

For clients using the Postcode geography, there are two options available:

  • DIY Approach
  • Atlas Mapping Support

You can go for the DIY approach if you’re happy to manage updating to the 2022 versions of the Postcode geography and Census 2021 demographics. You will also need to carry out system administration, such as managing demographics and tracking demographic changes in territories. We’ve created a workflow document to help you, with links to relevant help centre articles and supporting files, which you can find here.

Or, if you’d prefer us to carry it out on your behalf, please get in touch, and we can look at pricing that up for you. For all of our Census 2021 Vision update packages, please look at this document.

What else should I know about this update?

Over 370 demographics are now available for England and Wales. This includes lots of new demographics but also changes to existing ones to navigate. Read our article about 2011 to 2021 new and changed demographics.

Something else to be aware of is that the definition of a “Household” has changed in the 2021 census. This means that when you update your territories to use the latest census data, it may surprise you that some of your territories might have decreased in the number of households rather than increased. For more information on the change, read our article, understanding households in the UK Census.

Sonar 2023 is also available! A lot has changed since the last version of the product. We recommend reading our full article to understand the changes made and how to transition to the newest version.

Sonar 2023

Unsure about anything?

We understand more than anyone how complicated this update is. For almost six months, we’ve worked on getting this ready and making it as easy to understand and implement for our clients as possible. However, there is no avoiding the complexities of updating to new geography and census data, especially when that data is being released at different times across the UK countries.

If we’ve missed the mark, or you want to chat about anything Vision, project or Census related, please feel free to get in touch; we’d be happy to help.