Written by on 21/03/2021

We wouldn’t be The Black Card Talks if we didn’t come on here to tell you how important it is that you fill out the Census! But before we get into it, let’s outline what it is! 

The census is a survey that happens every 10 years and gives us a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales. The next census deadline is Sunday 21 March 2021.  The census should take around 10 minutes to fill in per person per household. There are a lot of unproven theories out there about what the government could do with our data, but we thought it would be worth mentioning if you are on PAYE or claim benefits – they have this data already! 

Now you might be thinking why should I bother filling it out? Well apart from the fact that you could be fined up to £1000 for not filling it in, your answers to the census questions will help organisations make decisions on planning and funding public services in your area, including transport, education and healthcare. The census is completed every 10 years and is considered to be the most accurate picture of the UK’s population breakdown of different groups. The last census took place in 2011, and found that Black people are 4% of the population (this is the same statistic the government is using in 2021. We all know this is no longer accurate, the last census also told us that Black people make up 10% of London’s population – again I think it is safe to say this also can no longer be true. Filling in the census is our opportunity to make it clear what the breakdown of this country really is! 

Now you may be thinking why does this even matter? Well, we have an answer to that as well. Think about it this way – if the government doesn’t know the breakdown of the country they are serving, they will keep serving the people who are paying for their campaigns because they have no reason to appease other groups of people. We have seen this happen before. Remember EMA? This was a payment of £30 a week to young people from low income households who decided to stay in higher education (sixth form and college). What happened to it? Well, it got scrapped and in the same year the government announced that they will be spending millions on the loft insulations of the elderly. Now we have nothing against the elderly, but it is clear that the government did this to gain votes and they were able to because young people were religiously not signing up to vote. We cannot let the same thing happen with the census! 

By not filling it in we are being complicit in the government ignoring us because they can claim to not know we exist. This is our chance to change the story. This is the chance for us to show public services we also need to be supported. This is our chance to force governments to partake in the conversation of creating equality across majority and minority groups. Once we have the right data we can tell the right story! 



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