Students are being encouraged to complete a census for both their university address and their at-home address.

The 2021 census will be carried out on March 21 to gather data on how coronavirus has affected health and finances across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The first UK census was in 1801 and is now taken every 10 years asking households to fill in a questionnaire about every person living at the property.

Concerns have been raised that the significant number of students living at home with their parents due to coronavirus may skew the data.

Students need to fill out a census for both addresses to give a clear picture of the population and where essential services are needed.

The Census 2021 website defines a term-time address as “a hall of residence that you had planned to stay at for this academic year and have a contract for, but you are not there because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

Calls have been made to the government to acknowledge that data collected during a pandemic may not give an accurate overview.

Liverpool John Moores University said that at their institution alone, thousands of students are living away from the city.

A LJMU spokesperson said: “Liverpool is very much a leading student city, so we are contacting students and using social media to encourage them to complete the Census 2021 for their university address.

“The Census 2021 informs decisions about student life, from the environment and transport to healthcare and leisure.

“This is a chance for our students to leave a legacy for the next generation and we encourage everyone to complete the census for their university address.”

The census this Sunday will be the first largely digital one due to the pandemic. Only 16.5% of questionnaires were completed online during the last census.

Inaccurate data could reduce local funding for everyday services in Liverpool that impact on students.

University campus bus links and bike lanes, jobs and training, are just a few that could be affected.

By law, the census must be completed. A fine of up to £1,000 can be given to people who do not fill it in, or give false information.

It is crucial that the census is filled out on March 21 or soon after the date.

Full censuses are not made public for 100 years. The 1921 census will be available for viewing in early 2022.

More information and the census form can be found here.

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