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Census FAQs

Why do we need a census?

A frequent misconception is that the Government already has all this information. The short answer is that the Government does not. There is no central file which provides all the census information about people and families. As an example, people do not have to inform the Government when they move and, without a census, we would not know how many people are living in each area.

The Government uses the information gained from a census to monitor whether there are enough schools, hospital and maternity facilities. Business people use the census figures when they are considering where to site new factories, offices and shops. Local authorities also need to know how many people live in their area in order to optimise the services they provide.

Why should I answer all these personal questions?

The Isle of Man Census is only interested in adding together information for the community as a whole. Details about individuals are not identified separately and names and addresses are not entered onto the census database. However, every member of the community must provide their answers before an accurate statistical picture of the community can be developed. All answers are treated in confidence. Anyone involved in the census who improperly uses or discloses the information provided will be prosecuted. The census office is prohibited from giving your answers to anybody else and the information obtained from your answers is only used for the preparation of the census statistics. Once the census database is completed the census forms will be stored in sealed boxes in the Government archives and will not be available to anyone for 100 years.

Why are names required?

Names are required on the forms to ensure that people are not missed or counted twice. It also assists with the completion of the form if the name of the individual is clearly stated at the head of each page. Names are not entered onto the database and they are not used in the compilation of the census results.

How many types of census forms are there?

There are 3 types of census forms.

What do I do if I know my enumerator and don't want him or her to see my personal details?

You may ask for a 'sealed return'.

If you inform your enumerator that you wish to make a sealed return he or she will provide you with an envelope in which you may place and seal your completed census form. When it is collected the enumerator will pass this sealed envelope to their supervising officer.


I will be away from the Island on Census Night. Do I have to complete a Census form?

Yes. All persons normally resident in the Island must be included in a census return. The arrangements for delivering a form to you and collecting it from you will depened on the exact date you intend to leave and return to the Island. Please contact the census office tel: +44 1624 686861.


Who should fill in the census forms?

The census form should be completed by the head or joint head of the household or, in their absence, by someone who is acting as head of household. In those cases where no-one is clearly identified as the head of household, for example a group of unrelated persons sharing a flat together, any person aged 16 or over may be nominated to fulfil the role of head of household.

More information about who to include or exclude on the census form is detailed on the household form. Examples of those to include are:

  • Child at boarding school, university or college (if not married)
  • Adopted or foster children, however temporary
  • Business person temporarily away from home
  • Member of HM Forces
  • Temporary visitors who reside outside of the Isle of Man

Examples of those to exclude are:

  • Family member in hospital or nursing home
  • Family member in prison
  • Temporary visitors who live at another address on the Isle of Man

Your enumerator will be able to assist you with who to include or exclude on your census forms.


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