Pilot Survey


Pilot Survey

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Questions in Detail - Form A

The explanations underneath each question below provide some details on why we ask the question.  They also set out some of the ways the information from the full census is used.  Advice on how to answer the question is often in the image of the question and in some cases there is added guidance.  Your enumerator will also be able to provide advice and assistance with any questions or areas of the form.

Household Question 1: What type of accommodation does your household occupy?

Your answer to this question will help to build a picture of the various types of homes in your area.  It also enables an analysis of types of accommodation by people of different ages, nationalities, educational attainment etc.  

Household Question 2: When was your house, flat or apartment first built?

We ask this question so that we can put together a detailed picture of the age of our homes.  It will provide detailed information on the housing stock by small area and year built, which is essential in understanding Ireland’s housing provision and needs.

Household Question 3: Does your household own or rent your accommodation?

The answers to this question will help to identify changes and trends in the numbers of people owning or renting their homes.  This is an important element of the social and economic picture of our population.  

Household Question 4: If your accommodation is rented, how much rent does your household pay?

Your answer to this question will give us information on the costs of rents in your area, and help to provide a clear picture of rental costs.  This will help us to better understand vital issues such as the affordability and availability of rented accommodation. 

Household Question 5: How many rooms do you have for use only by your household?

The answers to this question will allow a comparison of how many rooms households have available to them in their dwelling.

Household Question 6: What is the main type of fuel used by the central heating in your accommodation?

Our energy use in our homes, and the type of energy source we use there, is a very significant part of our overall energy use.  By telling us what is the main type of fuel used in your home, you can help us to understand our progress towards achieving our national energy and climate change goals.

Household Question 7: Does your accommodation use any of the following renewable energy sources?

This is a new question.  The use of renewable energy sources is becoming a more important part of how we deliver heating and electricity to our homes.  Your answer(s) here will help to inform policy makers in this area. 

Household Question 8: What type of piped water supply does your accommodation have?

Your answer to this question will help to put together a picture of the availability and use of essential water supply services. 

Household Question 9: What type of sewerage facility does your accommodation have?

This information provides a clear picture of the sanitary services used in our homes.

Household Question 10: How many cars or vans are owned or are available for use by one or more members of your household?

The answers to this question will provide a detailed picture of the number of cars available to private households in Ireland.

Household Question 11: What type of internet connection does your household have?

Access to broadband services, including in our homes, is increasingly important in our daily lives.  We need this information to understand the availability of these services in your area and nationally.  The question been updated to reflect changes in the ways in which we access the internet, including the devices we use to do so.  Your answer here will help us to better understand these changes.

Household Question 12: How many working smoke alarms are in your accommodation?

This is a new question.  Having working smoke alarms is recognised as a key factor in helping to reduce fires and fire damage.  The answers to this question will help us assess the use of smoke alarms in our homes.

Household Question 13: Is Irish the main spoken language of your household?

This is a new question.  It will help us to better understand the use of our native language in our homes.

Household Question 14

This completes the questions on your home.  Please now answer the questions on the people in your home.

Question 1: What is your name?

We ask you to give the name of everyone in your home/family to ensure that everyone there on the night is included in the census, and that everyone’s correct details are recorded.  Names are also used to assist in the identification of family groups within households.  In common with all other data provided to the CSO, this data will be kept confidential and be used only for statistical purposes.

Question 2: What is your sex?

Almost all information collected on the census form is analysed by both sex and age.

Question 3: What is your date of birth?

Knowing the age profile of our population is important in planning and delivering the services we all need, such as education, health and social welfare. 

Question 4: What is your relationship to other persons in the household?

By identifying the family / other relationships in your home, you help us to understand the changes in family types.  We can then provide results on changing social and living patterns, which is used to plan and deliver housing and social welfare services.

Question 5: What is your current marital status?

This question should only be answered by/for those aged 15 or over.Persons in same-sex marriages should tick ‘married’ on the census form.  Your answer to this question helps us to identify and understand developments in the marital status of our population, for example changes in the numbers of people who are single/married/widowed.

Question 6: What is your place of birth?

Your answer to this question provides information that helps to better understand patterns of migration, both within our towns, cities and counties, and from other countries into Ireland.

Question 7: Where do you usually live?

Your answer to this question informs us of the numbers of people resident in each townland, town, city and county.  This is vital information for local authorities and other public service providers.  It is also the basis for deciding on electoral boundaries. 

Question 8: Are you a tenant where you usually live?

This is a new question and will help us to identify changes in housing tenure, in particular the numbers of people owning/renting their home in each area.  

Question 9: Where did you usually live one year ago?

This question will help to clarify the numbers of people who have moved within Ireland/come to Ireland from abroad in the last year.  

Question 10: Have you ever lived outside the Republic of Ireland for a continuous period of one year or more?

The answers to this question, together with the questions on place of birth and where people lived one year ago, provide a detailed picture of migration. In particular, we can analyse who came to Ireland since the last census.

Question 11: What is your nationality?

The census information on the numbers of people of the various nationalities, together with details of where they live, their age, sex, economic status etc.  is required and relied on by local and national organisations and service providers.

Question 12: What is your ethnic group/background?

Information on the ethnicity of our population is an important part of the census.  Under Irish equality legislation discrimination based on a number of grounds, including “race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins” is unlawful. 

Question 13: What is your religion, if any?

Everyone should answer this question, whether or not they have a religion.  This question is not about frequency of attendance at church or other place of worship

People should answer the question based on how they feel now about their religious beliefs, if any.  The question is asking about the person’s current religion or beliefs and not about the religion the person may have been brought up in.

If you have a religion, please mark the correct box for you. If your religion is not listed, please write it in the box provided at the end of the question.

Question 14: Can you speak Irish?

Your answers to this question will help us to identify how many people can speak the national language, and how often and how well they speak it.  This will help understand the use of Irish, and fluency in using it, among the population.   

Question 15: Did you grow up in a household where Irish was the main spoken language?

This is a new question.  The answers will help to analyse the influence of growing up in an Irish-language household on the use of the language, and fluency in using it, in later life.

Question 16: Do you have any of the following long-lasting conditions or difficulties?

The census results on the health and disability status of the population provide vital information on the overall health of our people.  They are a key input in identifying health services required to meet our needs.  

Question 17: If ‘Yes’ to any of the categories specified in Question 16, do you have any difficulty in doing any of the following?

For those with a disability/disabilities, your answer(s) to this question will help us understand how that disability/disabilities impacts your everyday life.  This will help to inform what supports might be needed. 

Question 18: How is your health in general?

There are strong links between how people view their health and their actual health.  The answers to this question can help to assess how health status is related to factors such as age, location and economic status.  

Question 19: Do you smoke tobacco products?

This is a new question.  Smoking is an important factor in people’s health status.  

Question 20: How do you usually travel to work, school, college or childcare?

Means of travel will be analysed in conjunction with the address where people go to work/school/college/childcare.  The results will provide valuable information on commuting patterns for planning public transport services and infrastructure. Usual means of travel will identify the different modes of transport used by commuters.

Question 21: What time do you usually leave home to go to work, school, college or childcare?

Time of leaving home will be analysed in conjunction with the address where people go to work/school/college/childcare.  This will provide information on the volume of commuter travel by transport type at different times of the day.

Question 22: How long does your journey to work, school, college or childcare usually take?

Usual travel time will be analysed in conjunction with the address where people go to work/school/college/childcare.  The results will provide valuable information on commuting patterns for planning public transport services and infrastructure, and information on the efficiency of various modes of transport. 

Question 23: Do you provide regular unpaid personal help or support to a family member, neighbour or friend with a long-term illness, health issue, an issue related to old age or disability?

The answers to this question will help to assess the extent to which unpaid personal help is provided by carers in our society.  They will also help understand the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the carers themselves.

Question 24: Do you regularly engage in helping or voluntary work in any of the following activities without pay?

This is a new question. Volunteers make a vital contribution to many organisations across the country.  Your answer(s) will provide a picture of the numbers of volunteers, as well as the areas and types of organisations in which they volunteer.   

Question 25: If you are aged under 15, go to Q35


This question directs those aged under 15 to Question 35. If you are 15 and over, please continue to Question 26.

Question 26: Have you ceased your full-time education?

The answers to this question will be used to monitor the impact of education policies, changing skills levels and the extent to which people use their formal qualifications.

Question 27: What is the highest level of education/training (full-time or part-time) which you have completed to date?

Together with Question 26, the answers to Question 27 will give us a detailed picture of the skills and qualifications of our population, and will help us to better understand our training and skills needs.

Further information on qualifications, including foreign qualifications, can be found at http://www.qqi.ie/Pages/Home.aspx

Question 28: How would you describe your present principal status?

Your answer to this question will help us to identify how many people are in work, how many are unemployed and retired and how many are students.  This is vital information in understanding the economic situation in the country and in your area. 

Question 29: If you are working, unemployed or retired, go to Q30. If you are a student, go to Q35. Otherwise, go to Q37.

Depending on your answer to Question 28, this question directs you to the next relevant question for you. 

Question 30: Do (did) you work as an employee or are (were) you self-employed in your main job?

The answers to this question will provide us with a picture of the economic and employment make-up of the population, in particular the numbers of employees and employers.

Question 31: What is (was) your occupation in your main job?

Information on the occupations of those at work, unemployed or retired helps to better understand the employment situation in Ireland and trends in the growth and decline of occupations, which is important in economic planning.

Question 32: If you are retired, go to Question 37

This question directs those who have retired to Question 37.  Those who are in work/unemployed should answer Question 33. 

Question 33: What is (was) the business of your employer at the place where you work(ed) in your main job?

If you are employed, we ask you to provide a detailed description of the business of your current employer.  If you are unemployed, please give the business of your most recent employer.  This information will help to understand (changes in) employment in the various industrial sectors that make up our economy.  

Guidelines on answering Question 33

  • It is vitally important that a detailed description is given
  • This question should only be answered by those at work or unemployed
  • It need not be answered by those who are retired
  • Answers should be in precise terms, e.g:
Inadequate Response     Possible Correct Response    
Computers Making Computers
Cars Repairing cars
Education Primary education
Food Bread wholesaler
Pharmaceuticals Making pharmaceuticals
Cleaning Contract office cleaning
Software Software development and support
Recreation Swimming pool
Local Authority

Local Authority Cleaning Department

Local Authority Library Service

Local Authority Housing Department

Question 34: If you are unemployed, go to Question 37

If you are unemployed, you have now completed your part of the census form.  If you (or the person you are answering for) is working/in school/in college /in childcare, please answer Question 35. 

Question 35: What is the full name and address of your place of work, school, college or childcare?

Together with the previous questions on employment and education, this will help us to provide a detailed picture of where we go to school, college, childcare or work every day.  This is vital to understanding and planning for our transport needs.

Question 36: If you are aged under 15, are you in any type of childcare?

This is a new question. Access to childcare is an important social and economic issue.  Together with the previous childcare-related questions, it will help us to better understand the availability of and need for childcare services.  It will also help provide a clearer picture of the types of childcare being used today.

Question 37

This completes your questions.  Please now answer the questions for the other people (if any) in your home.  If you are the only person in the home, please sign the form at page 23.  If there are usually other people in the home who are away on 23 September, please answer the questions at page 22 on their behalf, then sign the form at page 23.  Thank you for your participation!    

Page 22 Absent Persons

This is form people who normally live with you but are temporarily absent from home on the night of Sunday, September 23rd.  Include all students (primary, secondary and third level) who are living away from home during term time and are present at home on Sunday, September 23rd.  The absent people listed on page 3 of the Census Pilot Survey form should correspond to the number of absent persons completed here.  There are eight questions to answer per absent person.

Time Capsule

Would you like to see the addition of a time capsule on the 2021 Census form?  This would mean a space for your message which will not be released for 100 years.  Please indicate your view.