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Friday, 27 April, 2001, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Census Q&A

The census helpline has been jammed with callers as census day, 29 April, approaches. Here, we answer some of the public's most pressing queries.


1) Should I be worried if I don't have a form yet?

A: No, forms are still being delivered and you may not receive one until Friday or even Saturday. All forms should be delivered by Sunday.

2) What if I'm away on census day, 29 April?

A: You should complete the form as soon as possible, preferably before you go away if you know your circumstances are not going to change by census day, and return it by post in the pre-paid envelope. Alternatively, you can complete the form when you get back.

3) Can I sign the form on behalf of anyone else?

A: Yes, if you have helped to complete the form or completed it entirely for someone else, with their consent.

4) Do I really have to answer the questions about former employment if I'm retired?

A: If you are under 75 you should complete the questions about education and employment (questions 16 to 35). If you are over 75, it's not compulsory, but you can if you wish.

5) Where should I complete the form if I'm a student living away from home?

A: You should complete the form at your term-time address. At your non term-time address, someone should fill in your name in table one and answer questions one to six on your behalf.

6) What do I do if I have a second home?

A: You complete the form at your permanent address and return it. The next time you are at your second home, complete questions H1 to H5 of the form which arrived there. These questions are in the section entitled "household accommodation" on page three. However, if someone is staying at your second home on the night of 29 April, but it's not their usual address, they should complete table 2, questions H1 to H5.

7) Why must I put my name on the form if it is confidential?

A: Names are required so that census takers can ensure they have responses back from every household.

8) Can I complete the census form and return it by e-mail?

A: No. Despite technological advances, the census organisers could not be confident about security of the information and there were no reliable means of authenticating the identity of respondents.

9) Why is census day on April 29th 2001?

A: The evenings are relatively light and the weather is usually mild. It also falls in term time for most schools and colleges and is within a range of dates agreed by EU member states for the census in 2001.

10) What happens if I lose my census form or fail to return it?

A: If a census form is lost then you will receive a follow-up visit from the census taker to enquire whether the household needs assistance. The census-taker will ask the household to complete another form.

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