Census 2021

Presenting data and analysis based on responses to the latest census, where output include data about population, identity, work, health, housing and education. 


North East residents

on the date of the census

+1.8% since 2011

35,700 higher


aged 0 to 15

338,000, up 0.8%
since 2011


aged 16 to 64

1.22m, down 2.8%
since 2011


aged 65 plus

407,000, up 20%
since 2011 

Census 2021

The latest census for England and Wales took place on 21st March 2021.

A key purpose of the census was to provide definitive population totals for national, local and small area geographic areas. Other outputs from the census provide statistics about the characteristics of respondents in each area and of their day to day activity. Data from the census is used to plan and fund local services.

The initial release of census data provided population totals by age. This was followed by statistics for single topic areas, then by data combining two or more topics and then by more complex outputs such as flow analysis. 

What the census provides

In addition to the key purpose of updating population estimates, census outputs provide information that is not available from other surveys. These outputs include:

  • Statistics for very small areas: As well as enabling comparisons at a very local level, these can be combined to provide information for larger non-standard areas, including ad-hoc, user-defined geographies
  • multivariate data: Using the combination of different variables to look at the relationships between them and providing information about subgroups of the population
  • origin-destination (flow) data: Showing the movement of people from one location to another, with four location types included. These relate to migration, travel to work, second addresses and student residences
  • alternative populations: Providing geographical breakdowns that are not residence-based. These include populations based on workplaces, workday location, second addresses and out-of-term residences
  • detailed migration data: Providing insights into the characteristics of people who have migrated.

Census topics

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released data and analysis for a range of topics. The data includes information at geographies from national down to small area level. 

The topics can be grouped into six topic areas: 

  • Population: Age, sex, household size and composition, marital status, living arrangements, nationality, and country of birth
  • Education: Highest level of qualification, full-time study 
  • Health: General health, disability, and provision of unpaid care
  • Housing: Accommodation type, tenure, car ownership, second addresses, overcrowding and under-occupation
  • Identity: Ethnic group, national identity, religion, main language, sexual orientation, and gender identity
  • Work: Economic activity status, employment history, occupation, industry, hours worked, and travel to work

The North East Evidence Hub includes pages highlighting how some of these statistics portray our area, accessed via the links below:

Commuting patterns in the North East

Data on where people work and live in the North East from the 2021 census
Transport Newcastle North Tyneside South Tyneside Durham Gateshead Sunderland Northumberland Census 2021

Economic activity status by ethnicity

North East population estimates by ethnic group. Comparisons of labour market participation rates. Detailed information from the 2021 census.
Labour Market Census 2021

Economic activity status, disability and health

The participation in the labour market of people with disabilities or ill-health. Additional detail from the 2021 census.
Labour Market Population and health Newcastle North Tyneside South Tyneside Durham Gateshead Sunderland Northumberland Census 2021

Built-up areas in the North East

The types of settlement where people in the North East live, with population estimates for cities and towns, information about age profiles and a map of population density patterns..
Population and health Census 2021

Employment by occupation (2021 census)

The occupations within which North East residents work, with area comparisons
Census 2021

Employment by industry (2021 Census)

The industry sectors in which North East workers are employed and how these compare for different areas and have changed since 2011
Census 2021

Economic activity status (2021 census)

Census 2021 data showing the percentages of adults participating in and absent from the labour market, with detail that is unavailable from other sources.
Census 2021

Population by age (2021 Census)

Census 2021 data showing population by age group in the North East.
Census 2021

Travel to work (2021 Census)

Information about how North East workers travelled to their jobs in March 2021, including how many worked at or from home
Transport Census 2021

Economic activity status of older people

Statistics showing the participation of people aged 50 and above in the labour market. Additional detail from the 2021 census.
Labour Market Census 2021

Additional information

The ONS has produced hundreds of publications relating to the census. These include topic-based statistical bulletins, articles, information about methodology and responses to queries from data users.

The ONS nomis website enables census datasets to be downloaded flexibly, so that, for example, users can focus on specific areas. The ONS custom dataset tool also provides an interactive method of extracting selected census information.

A key output of the census is small area information, so the ONS custom area profile tool is important for users who wish to find out information about their locality. It also includes the useful function that builds up an ad-hoc geographical area from smaller areas and displays data for that. The ONS census maps page provides an opportunity to view geographical patterns and examples of maps can be viewed in the final section of this webpage.

A blog post added to the evidence hub in February 2023 set out why the census is an important data source for understanding the North East.

ONS census publications

Census data downloads

Create a custom dataset

Build a custom area profile

Introduction to the census

Maps of the census data

The ONS interactive map shown below allows users to view geographical patterns in census datasets. The variable and topic can be changed to view the full range of published census data. The zoom function can be used to view patterns for small areas in most datasets.

For more information about this mapping tool, visit the ONS website.