Consultation on the future of population and migration statistics in England and Wales

Closed 29 Oct 2023

Opened 29 Jun 2023

Feedback updated 14 Dec 2023

We asked

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) ran a consultation from 29 June 2023 to 26 October 2023 on the Future of Population and Migration Statistics in England and Wales. It was designed to provide us with information on how people currently use our population and migration statistics. It also captured user feedback on our proposals for future development of these statistics. For further details, please see our consultation document.

This consultation update details the number of consultation responses by sector and outlines how we engaged with users of population and migration statistics both before and during the consultation. It also explains how we will carry out our analysis of the responses. 

ONS is responsible for producing population statistics for England and Wales. The consultation covers only population and migration statistics produced for England and Wales, and the Welsh Government have been closely involved throughout. We are continuing to work closely with our partners in National Records Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

You said

We received a total of 706 responses at the close of the consultation. The table below shows how respondents represented themselves based on the categories provided in the consultation questionnaire.


Count of question “What sector does the organisation belong to?”

Individual response


Local government


Charity or voluntary


Central government


Other public body, for example health, transport, or emergency services


Business, industry or commercial


Academia or research


Religion or faith


Devolved administration and associated bodies




Grand Total


*Other includes responses from sectors such as Think Tanks, Journalism or Media; which have been combined to avoid disclosure.

Note - Responses with more than one named author have been included, in this table, as a single response

Users were asked why population statistics are important to them. Broadly, the main reasons included:

  • Informing national and local public policy to provide the best strategy and intelligence
  • Monitoring trends and changes in communities and populations
  • Informing funding and allocation decisions around service provision, to meet the needs of the local communities and societal groups  
  • Academic research and detailed analysis in the respective fields of study
  • Respondents personal interest in being kept up to date on the analysis of data for issues important to them or their organisation
  • A number of responses were from users of population data via Census records for family and social history purposes

We did

Prior to the consultation being launched we undertook targeted engagement to maximise awareness and accessibility of our proposals. This included a series of roundtables across a number of sectors, where we sought feedback on our consultation approach and promoted the importance of engaging with the proposal across these sectors. These roundtables covered a broad range of users, but we were cognizant that these conversations alone may not be representative of the total user base. 

During the formal consultation period, we delivered a sizeable engagement programme to reach as many users as possible. We focused on providing resources to make sure users had access to information to make an informed response to the consultation questionnaire. This was delivered through emails, newsletters, social media, conferences, webinars, meetings and other events. The consultation provided users with a questionnaire to share their feedback on the proposals and how it would meet their needs.

Responses to the consultation will inform a recommendation from the UK Statistics Authority, on the advice of the National Statistician. This recommendation will outline how ONS should produce statistics about the population and migration in the future, based on user need for population and migration statistics. We will publish the outcomes of our analysis in 2024, alongside the recommendation.

The consultation has provided ONS with an opportunity to engage with a wide range of users, representing the diverse population and communities, which we serve as producers of official statistics for England and Wales. However, the conversation and engagement with users does not stop here: user need will continue to be at the heart of what we do moving forward. As we approach the formal recommendation and develop our future research plan, we will continue to build on the engagement we sought throughout the consultation and build in opportunities for further feedback from users.   

We would like to thank all respondents for their valuable feedback, which will continue to guide our work in this area. 

If you would like to get in touch about our future research plan, please email

Results updated 30 Oct 2023

This public consultation opened on 29 June 2023 and closed on 26 October 2023. We are currently analysing the responses. We will publish a consultation update here by 18 January 2024, which will give an insight into the levels of responses we received and the methods we are using in our analysis. 

Responses to the consultation will inform a recommendation to government from the UK Statistics Authority, on the advice of the National Statistician. This recommendation will detail how the Office for National Statistics (ONS) should produce statistics about population and migration in England and Wales in the future, based on user need. An analysis of the consultation responses will be published alongside the recommendation.   

We would like to thank all respondents for their valuable feedback, which will continue to guide our work in this area.   

If you would like more information about our research to date, please see our Research outputs using administrative data webpage


This consultation is also available in Welsh.

Our transformation plans 

At the Office for National Statistics (ONS), we want your views on our ambitious plans for the transformation of our population and migration statistics. These statistics cover a wide range of areas, including household characteristics, employment, health, religion and international migration. 

High-quality, timely population statistics are essential to ensure people get the services and support they need within communities and nationwide. We are consulting to ensure that the population and migration statistics and analysis we produce continue to meet the changing needs of policy makers, citizens, and other data users. Our statistics should give you frequent, clear, timely and detailed insights into society. We also want to improve the coverage and accuracy of our statistics over time. To make sure that we meet your needs, we need your feedback on our proposals. 

The consultation document explains the ONS’s proposals to create a sustainable system for producing essential, up-to-date statistics about the population. To do this, the system would primarily use administrative data such as tax or benefit data, complemented by survey data and a wider range of data sources. This could radically improve the statistics that the ONS produces each year and could replace the current reliance on the census every ten years. This consultation is seeking views on how these proposals meet the needs of users of ONS statistics compared to a system based on a census. 

Learn more about how we plan to deliver population and migration statistics in the future by watching our transformation journey video. The video is also available with British Sign Language

Who should take part? 

We welcome contributions from all users. This includes those who are experienced users of ONS’s statistics, through to those who are looking to use ONS population and migration data for the first time. We value everyone’s feedback.  

How to take part 

Before you take part in the consultation, you can find out more about our proposed plans in the consultation document below. It is available in English and Welsh and accessible for users of screen readers. 

When you complete the questionnaire, only the first section, 'About you', is mandatory, all other sections are optional. This means that you can choose what you comment on. 

We ask you to consider our proposals and respond to this consultation. A better understanding of your needs and priorities will help us shape our plans for these important statistics.  

You can contact the ONS for help or further information about this consultation at

Thank you.  


  • Anyone from any background


  • Labour market
  • Migration
  • Population
  • Statistics
  • Data
  • Formal consultations