The 1921 census was taken on the 19th of June 1921 at a time when the population for England and Wales stood at over 37 million.

The 1921 census gives greater detail than any previous census. In addition to the questions asked in the 1911 census, the 1921 census included more information about the profession and branch within it. It asked what materials they worked in, place of work and their employer’s name. For those over the age of 15 information about marital status, including if divorced was given. For those under 15 the census recorded whether both parents were alive or if either or both parents had died. It also had detailed questions on education including whether you were in full-time or part-time education.

For the first time individuals in a household could also make separate confidential returns.

The censuses from 1921 onwards were taken under the Census Act 1920. The 1921 Census and later censuses are held in the custody of the UK Statistics Authority. It will take some years and considerable financial outlay to prepare and digitise the original 1921 Census paper records for release online in January 2022.

Information in the 1921 Census Substitute records:

  • Forename, surname and profession
  • Street, town and county
  • Business name
  • Addresses
  • Professions

Additional information included in the 1921 Census:

  • Who their guests were on the night of the census
  • Number of servants they had
  • Whether they were an employer/employee
  • Details of nationality
  • Duration of current marriage
  • Details of any illnesses or conditions each family member had and the date they began

Official 1921 Census Fields and Instructions

  • Name and Surname (a)
    • Of every person who is alive at midnight on the night of Sunday, 19th June, 1921, and who, whether as member of the family or as visitor, boarder or servant in the household or establishment:
      • Passes that night in the dwelling of the household or establishment, or
      • Arrives and is received into the household or establishment on the morning of Monday, 20th June, not having already been enumerated elsewhere
    • No one else must be included
  • Relationship to Head of Household (b)
    • State whether “Head,” or “Wife,” “Mother,” “Son,” “Daughter,” “Step-son,” or other relative “Visitor,” “Boarder,” or “Servant”
  • Age (c)
    • In years and months
      • For infants under one month write “Under one month”
  • Sex (d)
    • If male write “M,” if female write “F.”
  • Marriage or Orphanhood (e)
    • For persons ages 15 and over write “Single,” “Married,” “Widowed,” or if marriage dissolved write “D.”
    • For children aged under 15 write “Both alive” if both parents are alive; “Father Dead” if father be dead, “Mother Dead” if mother be dead, or “Both Dead” if both parents be dead.
  • Birthplace and Nationality (f, g)
    • If born in the United Kingdom, write the name of the County and of the Town or Parish.
    • If born outside the United Kingdom, write the name of the Country and of the State, Province or District or
    • If born at Sea, write “At Sea”
    • If not born in the United Kingdom state whether Visitor or Resident in the country and state also nationality if born in a foreign country e.g. “British born,” “Naturalised British Subject” “French” “German” “Russian” etc.
  • Occupation and Employment (h, k, l, m)
    • Personal Occupation
      • If attending a School of any kind of Educational Institution for the purpose of receiving Instruction write “Whole-time” or “Part-time” as the case may be.
      • State here the precise branch of Profession, Trade, Manufacture, Service, &c
      • Where the occupation is connected with Trade of Manufacture, the reply should be sufficient to show the particular kind of work done stating where applicable the material worked on and the article made of dealt on if any
    • Employment
      • If working for an employer state the name and business of present employer (person, firm, company or public body) or if at present out of work, of last employer adding “out of work”
      • If employing persons for purposes of business write “Employer”
      • If working on own account and not employing persons for purposes of business write “own account”
    • Place of Work
      • Give the address of each person’s place of work
      • For a person with nor regular place of work write “no fixed place”
      • If the work is carried out mainly at home, write “At home”
      • (no entry is required for any person who is retired or out of work)
  • Information required only in respect of Married Men, Widowers and Widows (n, o)
    • Number and ages of all living children and step children under 16 years of age, whether enumerated on this Schedule of nor i.e. whether residing as member of this household or elsewhere
    • Total number under sixteen years of age. If non write “None”
    • For each child place a X in the column corresponding to its age
    • The number of crosses should be the same as the number shown in Column (n)
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