2022 census in Germany: Everything you need to know

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The 2022 census will take place from mid-May to mid-August. Participation is mandatory. What else should you know about the census?

2022 census: In 2022 there will be another census in Germany: the census. This was planned for 2021 but was postponed due to Corona. What data is collected in the census, and who is being surveyed?

The 2022 census in brief:

  • The 2022 census will take place from mid-May to mid-August 2022.
  • This is a serious survey based on the 2022 census law (ZensG 2022).
  • There is a “household survey” and a “building and housing census”.
  • Participation is mandatory.
2022 census in Germany

Have you received a suggested date and an information flyer from the census by post? In this case, it is a serious survey. The census is carried out by the statistical offices of the federal and state governments with the aim of finding out more about the population and, based on this, enabling political and economic decisions – for example on questions about housing and educational opportunities. Existing data from state registers are not accurate enough here.

What is the 2022 census?

The 2022 census is a nationwide census. A census is a tabulation that counts the number of residents and also obtains data on how they live, resides, and work. The census is prepared and carried out by the statistical offices of the federal and state governments.

The 2022 census will be random

► Households will be surveyed at random between mid-May and mid-August 2022. A census of buildings and apartments is also planned. The information from the census is then used, for example, to allocate tax funds, allocate constituencies, or assess new construction projects for housing.

Register-based census

► The 2022 census will be carried out as a “register-based census”. This means that data already in registers are evaluated first. In addition, information is collected that has not been recorded anywhere before – such as information on the professional situation. The samples also supplement the information from the existing registers because it allows one to assess how accurate or inaccurate the register data is. This way they can be used more reliably.

2022 census in Germany

Who will be interviewed in the 2022 census?

Not everyone will be surveyed. This distinguishes the 2022 census from a complete population census which took place in 1987 in the old German Federal Republic. Today, most of the data is available at the local administrations. These are transmitted for official statistics. In the 2022 census, around 10.3 million randomly selected people in households will for example be asked about their age or nationality. This requires a ten-minute personal interview. The interviewers announce themselves in advance in writing.

► In addition, data is collected using online questionnaires and a random household survey. Information on education and employment is also requested. Since the housing and building stock is not recorded across the board, all owners of condominiums or residential buildings in Germany are surveyed by post.

You do not have to register yourself to take part in the census. The respective state statistical office will contact you by post if you have to take part in the survey.

What data will the 2022 census collect?

The interviewers of the 2022 census will not come to you unannounced. You should therefore only provide information if you have previously received an appointment proposal. 

The reputable interviewers are specially trained for this task and can identify themselves.

In the census, data is collected about the participants. This includes, among other things:

  • gender
  • age
  • educational qualifications
  • profession
  • composition of the household

Details such as your name and other personal data are only used for the implementation – so that, for example, the same person is not interviewed twice. All personal data will then be deleted so that the data relevant to the census can be evaluated anonymously. No data will be passed on to other government agencies such as registration offices, tax offices or the police.

All interviewers are also sworn to secrecy.

How is the data collected?

For the 2022 census, the data will be collected in two different ways.

1. Household survey

When surveying households, 10 percent of the population is randomly selected and interviewed. The procedure is as follows:

  • You will receive a suggested date and further information on the census by post.
  • If you are unable to attend at the time the appointment is proposed, you can get in touch with the contact person provided and arrange a more suitable appointment.
  • Interviewers will come to you at the agreed time. You can view the questionnaires beforehand on the 2022 census website.

2. Census of buildings and dwellings

The census of buildings and apartments takes place in a different way. As with the household survey, you will receive an invitation to participate by post. In this case, instead of an interview, you fill out a questionnaire yourself. If possible, you should do this online and with the data from the invitation.

2022 census in Germany

When was the last census in Germany and what did it reveal?

The last census took place in Germany in 2011 and cost 667.4 million euros. Around 80,000 interviewers interviewed almost eight million people. According to the results of the census, the number of inhabitants in Germany fell by 1.5 million to 80.2 million.

► During the 2011 census:

  • Berlin lost around 180,000 inhabitants
  • Hamburg lost almost 83,000 inhabitants

This had financial consequences for both states. As a result, Berlin and Hamburg filed a complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court against the constitutionality of the census methods. In 2015, the court announced that the 2011 census was compatible with the Basic Law.

What are the penalties if the census information is refused?

On the basis of the Federal Statistics Act, fines of up to 5,000 euros can be imposed for refusing to provide information. However, the actual fines are determined by the federal states.


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