Get set for the Census

THE distinctive purple and white envelopes of the National Census will begin dropping through people’s letterboxes from tomorrow in one of the biggest mailouts the Royal Mail has handled.

The National Census takes place every decade and is set to make its way to around 26 million households in England and Wales today, and by census day on March 27 every household will have one. Participation is obligatory.

Householders will be quizzed on everything from national identity through to travel to work method.

Those born outside of Britain, meanwhile, will be asked when they arrived in the country, and there is a question on if people speak English and how well they speak it.

Census director Glen Watson said: “People should look out for the purple and white envelope landing on their doormat in the next two weeks.

“Now that the forms are being mailed out we’re in great shape for the 2011 Census. “Once people get their form they can, if they prefer, fill it in online.

“This will be quicker and it’s better for us because we won’t need to scan the forms and decipher all that handwriting.

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“Of course if people want, they can still do it by hand. Completing the census form promptly and sending it back to us means no one will have to knock on your door to remind you.

“Census statistics enable the authorities in England and Wales to plan properly for the future for school places, housing, roads, emergency services and a host of other local services.”

Those looking to fill out the census online can go to