Hull is counting on you
Why it's vital that all residents fill in their census form on 27 March
Watch out for your census form dropping through letter box. By filling it in you'll be helping the city receive the funding it needs to pay for schools, health services and police, among other vital services
It only happens once every ten years! On Sunday 27 March 2011, every single household in the country will be taking part in the census – and that includes all households across Hull (more than 110,000 in total).
Any day now a purple questionnaire with a 2011 Census logo will arrive in the post from the government's Office for National Statistics.
The questionnaire will ask about you, your household and all the people who live in it, including questions about age, occupation, health, and the size of your property.
It's a means by which the government can take a snapshot of the population on a given date.
One of the ways it then uses this information is for allocating funding to local councils for a wide range of essential services including schools, transport, housing and health services – and it's estimated that councils can lose £500,000 each year for every 1,000 people who don't fill it in.
"That's why it's vital that every household completes the census," says Richard Morfitt, research analyst at Hull City Council.
"If not it could make a very real difference to your life and the lives of everyone you know.
"The information will also help Hull City Council to understand the needs of different people and communities across the city, and the kind of services needed over the next ten years."
How are census statistics used?
Some examples include:
- Hull City Council uses census statistics to help forecast the number of pupils who'll be going to school in the future. These are then used to ensure there are enough school places within the city
- Humberside Fire and Rescue Service uses census statistics to allocate resources such as fire appliances and personnel and to plan home safety visits.
- officers at Humberside Police use census statistics to identify high crime neighbourhoods and where there are community tensions. That way they can best concentrate their crime prevention efforts
- census statistics are used to plan both the location of doctors' surgeries and the services they offer. Census data is used to develop and deliver health education relating to smoking, obesity, alcohol and domestic violence
- utility companies base their long term planning on census statistics. The number of people using their services has a direct impact on how much the company needs to invest in its infrastructure
- businesses such as large supermarkets use census statistics to make decisions about planning the location of their stores, which products to sell, and how many car parking spaces to provide
What do you need to do?
The questionnaire should be completed on, or as soon as possible after Sunday 27 March 2011.
You can either:
- complete the questionnaire by hand and post it back in the pre-paid envelope, or
- you can complete your 2011 Census online. You'll need your internet access code, which you'll find printed on the front of your questionnaire.
You'll find comprehensive help and alternative formats at www.census.gov.uk including large print and easy-to-read information booklets, translation booklets in over 50 languages, and audio and British Sign Language video guides.
Alternatively you can call the census telephone helpline (on 0300 0201 101) where you can also arrange for a home visit if you need help completing your questionnaire.
All the information you give in the census is strictly confidential.
Personal information is kept confidential for 100 years and isn't shared with any other government departments, local councils or marketing agencies.
If your questionnaire has been lost or damaged you can telephone the census helpline (0300 0201 101) and they'll send you another one.
Completing the census is a legal requirement. The few people who don't complete their census questionnaire may be prosecuted for breaking the law, and could face a criminal record and a fine of up to £1,000.
For more information visit www.census.gov.uk