The census is an ancient practice, dating back to 1801 in the UK, which serves to count the population and calculate what services they need. This year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said it is particularly important to help us understand how coronavirus has affected our lives.
What happens if you don’t take part?
If you do not complete the census, a census officer will first contact you, perhaps visiting your home, and encourage you to complete it.
If officers do visit your home, they should be in full PPE and won’t need to come inside.
They will help you access any support you need to fill in your form.
READ MORE: Who can see my Census data?
How to complete the census
To avoid this hefty fine, it’s best just to get the census over and done with.
This year, people are being asked to fill the census out online using an access code sent in the post.
You can do this on a computer, mobile phone or tablet and should submit the survey on Sunday 21 March, or as soon as possible afterwards.
You can also request a paper version online, or over the phone.
There will also be a question on renewable energy systems.
A few existing questions will be tweaked, such as the ethnic group question has been “updated to reflect the growth of particular ethnic groups within Northern Ireland since 2011”.
Redundant questions – such as whether you have an outdoor toilet, on the census from 1951 to 1991 – are removed each year.
This year, you won’t be asked how many rooms are in your house or what year you last worked.