Help & FAQs

This page outlines a number of frequently asked questions about the census including how to participate, what information is required and how it will be protected.

Regulatory Framework

Is the Census compulsory?

In accordance with the national Census Act and related EU regulations, taking part in the Census is compulsory.


Who should be counted?

Who should be included in the Census form?

Every person residing in Malta as at the official Census date (Sunday 21 November 2021), including those temporarily abroad at the time (i.e. abroad for a period of less than 12 months) need to be counted.


Which members should be included?

Any person living alone or a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share common parts of the dwelling (such as living room and dining areas) should be included.


I am not a Maltese citizen, should I fill in the Census?

Any person who has either already resided in Malta for at least 12 months by the Census date, or is residing in Malta with the intention of staying for at least 12 months by Census date is considered to be a resident and needs to fill-in the questionnaire.


For example, a person arriving in Malta in September 2021 with the intention of staying for a duration of 9 months for educational purposes does not fulfil the “intention of residing for at least 12 months in Malta criteria” and should therefore not be included.


On the other hand, a person arriving in Malta in June 2021 for work purposes with the intention of staying longer than June 2022, would need to be included in the Census, even if the person would travel temporarily abroad from time-to-time.


Why am I being asked questions needing a reply at a future date? Who knows what the future holds?

Every census has a census day/night as a reference date. Malta’s official census day is Sunday, November 21, 2021. Such nationwide project cannot be carried out in one day. Respondents are required to answer the respective questions as true to the mentioned date as possible. The NSO recognises that unforeseen circumstances, such as sudden job offers, might happen in due course. This element of error is taken into consideration during data analysis stage.


Help with the paper form and enumerator visits

Is this the first online Census?

Yes, the 2021 Census is the first online Census in Malta and will allow all individuals to reply through a secure online portal. In the eventuality that participation through the online form is not possible, the NSO will also be collecting responses by means of appointed enumerators who will visit the dwellings in November 2021.


 


 


Will I receive a paper questionnaire?

For environmental reasons, paper questionnaires will not be sent by post as in past censuses. You will receive an official NSO letter with the credentials (username and password) and login information needed to access the Census form online. If you did not receive this but are willing to fill in the online Census form, you are kindly requested to contact the office for further help on 1710. If you are unable to fill in the online Census form, the enumerator will either provide you with a paper questionnaire or else will fill in the form in your stead.


 


 


What If I don’t speak Maltese or English?

The census questionnaire will be available in Maltese and other languages namely; English, Italian and French. If you encounter any difficulties you can ask your assigned enumerator to help you accordingly, or contact us on 1710, or fill in the online contact form with your details here.


Enumerator assistance

If you encounter any difficulties when completing the Census questionnaire, your assigned enumerator will help you between the 8 and 28 of November 2021.


 


Help responding online

How should the online Census questionnaire be completed?

For further information on how to complete the Census questionnaire online, please click here. Moreover, please make sure that you have the required credentials (username and password) which were sent to you by post by the NSO. If no letter was received, please click here and request a new set of log-in details from the office.


How do I correct a mistake on the online form?

If you feel that you have made a mistake, you can return to the online questionnaire, correct it and resubmit the information.


 


Additional information required?

Additional information about logging online can be found here.


Address and Residence Help/General

Should vacant property be included?

In case you received a letter at an address where there are no usual residents according to the criteria stated above (e.g. a holiday dwelling), the Census form on that address need not be filled in.


 


 


Where should people with multiple residences be enumerated?

Someone who alternates between two or more places of residence (e.g. children in case of split custody who alternate between residences), shall consider the one where they spend the majority of time as their place of usual residence. Where an equal amount of time is spent in different residences, the place of usual residence shall be the one in which the person is staying on 21 November 2021 (Census day), or alternatively the place where the person is legally registered.


 


 


What if someone is temporarily away from the dwelling while receiving education in Malta/Gozo or abroad?

Persons who are temporarily absent for educational purposes (not more than one year) shall consider their family home to be their place of usual residence (regardless of whether they are pursuing their education elsewhere in the country or abroad).


On the other hand, students who are away from home while at college or university (for a duration of more than one year, excluding temporary visits), shall consider their term-time address to be their place of usual residence. This residence should be considered, regardless of whether it is an institution (such as a boarding school) or a private residence.


For example, Gozitan students residing in Malta during winter-time while receiving education, but returning frequently to their home in Gozo for brief visits (e.g. weekly) and in the summer holidays, should consider their home in Gozo as their place of usual residence.


What if more than one family lives in the same dwelling?

In cases where more than one family lives in the same dwelling, the respective relationship question should be properly filled in such that this distinction can be made easily. In case of difficulty, you can ask the enumerator for additional clarifications.


 


Security and Privacy

Are my answers safe and secure?

By law, your information is confidential. The NSO collects data for statistical purposes only and cannot publish identifiable information or share it with third parties. The NSO will apply all necessary confidentiality and anonymisation processes.


How can I verify that the enumerator is legitimate and from the NSO?

For your security, all of our officially recruited enumerators will present the NSO tag when collecting information in your area. In case of doubt, you may call 1710 to confirm the identity of your assigned enumerator.


All enumerators take the oath of secrecy as stipulated in the Census Act prior to engaging in any data collection. This is to ensure that your personal information is kept confidential and secure. Any portable media devices used throughout the data collection process (e.g. tablets) will be configured in such a way (by means of encryption) so as to ensure maximum protection of data. Only official NSO staff will access the information stored on these devices.


How to avoid scams and fraud

“Phishing is a criminal act by which someone tries to get your information by pretending to be an entity that you trust. Hereunder are tips to ensure that you are accessing the right information:


– All valid Census websites will always have “.gov.mt” at the end.


– This is the direct website address you can use to respond to the 2021 Census online.


What questions are not included in the Census questionnaire?

– Social Security number;

– Bank or credit card account information;

– Political party information;

– Questions about income earned etc.;

– Money or donations; and

– Passwords.


What should be done in cases of suspected fraud?

You can contact our office on 1710 in order to verify the web-platform link used or to verify the identity of your enumerator. In case the verified enumerator is asking of you information that you deem to be suspect, please contact us on 1710 and we will investigate. You may be directed to report to the police.


Further information

Where can I go to find out more?

Visit the About Census 2021 page here get more information about the Census or go here to participate in the 2021 Census by filling in the self-response questionnaire.


How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the 2021 Census?

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited face-to-face interviews for the 2021 Census of Population and Housing. Measures will be adopted to ensure that the Census is conducted throughout the country using the best public health practices and in the safest way possible. Measures include an online platform which provides a fully contactless participation. Furthermore, the Office will offer the option of completing the questionnaire with the assistance of the enumerator over the phone. Whenever the enumerator’s assistance is physically required in the respondent’s home, they will be instructed to observe the safety measures in accordance with the directives from the Public Health Authorities at the time, including having the necessary protective equipment.


Participation in Census 2021

The Census of Population and Housing is an official measure of persons and dwellings in Malta and Gozo, taken at a specific point in time. It is a nationwide exercise carried out every ten years. In order to find out more about the various methods of participation and the eligibility criteria click on Participation below.

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