Census 2021: Making Hackney Count


Cllr Carole Williams - Cabinet Member with responsibility for Equalities on this year's all-important census and the opportunity it brings for everyone to be counted.

The-once-in-a-decade census has never been more important. The information collected will help the Council respond to and recover from the coronavirus pandemic. It will shape how we understand ourselves, with identities never before recognised now included, helping us understand who lives in the borough, their backgrounds and their lives - all to make sure we can better make Hackney a fairer place to live. 

We’ve always been committed to celebrating our diversity and catering for individual communities. But without accurate information of how diverse we really are, we cannot support those often underrepresented groups to be better heard and appropriately catered for. The results of the census will also help navigate our exit from the EU and shape how the Government funds our borough and the public services we will all rely on for years to come.

Having up-to-date data will ensure we can match our values of being an inclusive borough alongside the most accurate population numbers possible to shape the Council’s work.

A census like ‘no other’

For the first time, our LGBT+ residents will have the option to be recorded on the census. It is shocking and surprising this milestone hasn’t happened sooner but now there will be voluntary questions on gender identity and sexual orientation for over 16s including the ability to request and submit a confidential submission. 

There are currently no figures held by the ONS on transgender residents and this census provides an opportunity to ensure they too are counted. It also means that we will have more accurate data when making policy on important issues of gender inclusion.

At the last census, 11.4% of Hackney’s population were Black African and 7.8% were Black Caribbean making up the second and third highest percentages after those who class themselves as white. We are also proud to be home to the largest Charedi Jewish communities, outside New York. 

This census also represents a first for many of Hackney’s other smaller but equally valued communities who contribute to how multicultural we are. Now, our Kurdish, Roma, Alevi, South American, Israeli and Somali communities can be formally counted alongside our Bangladeshi, Asian, Chinese, Irish, Pakistani, Arab and Vietnamese residents. As this year’s census allows residents to type in their country of origin and state their identity on their own terms, at last we’ll know more about our neighbours who for too long have had to tick ‘other’ on their census form. 


A call to arms 

Thanks to a campaign led by the Royal British Legion, those who served in the Armed Forces will finally be counted. This is to support commitments made by central and local government under the Armed Forces Covenant - the deal between the country and those who served it. It will significantly improve our understanding of the Armed Forces community which until now has been limited.

This year, instead of equating disability with illness, the census reframes the question asking how those affected carry out day-to-day activities. This will help the Council gain a better understanding of what impact Covid-19, post-Covid-19 syndrome and other long-term conditions are having on the lives of Hackney people. 

If we all take part it will strengthen our borough and how we provide services and help make the case that communities and the challenges they face are heard. We already value our strong relationships with our diverse communities, but sometimes even we lack the evidence base to support them properly. This census can help change that - from better-targeted youth and education services, to culturally competent adult social care. 

By now, you should have received your letter from the Office of National Statistics to remind you that census day is this Sunday, 21 March. By this date, we hope everyone in Hackney will take the opportunity to be counted by filling out their online form, asked for a paper copy or used the free helpline to ask someone to assist. 

This Census will also be the most inclusive and detailed in our history. So this is a real chance for all of us to take part, whether we were born in east London and can trace our family back to when census records began in 1841, second generation or a newly-arrived private renter making the borough your home - please join us, stand up and be counted. 

Census day is 21 March. Let’s make it count. 

For more information visit census.gov.uk 

More information on Hackney’s population figures as provided by the Office of National Statistics can be found at hackney.gov.uk/population