Zensus Overview of the essentials of the 2022 Census

Pressrelease #05 of 08. March 2022

  • The 2022 Census is a count of the population and of dwellings
  • Starting 15 May 2022, roughly 30 million people in Germany will be surveyed
  • Here comes an overview of central questions and answers for citizens

WIESBADEN - This year there will be another count of the population and of dwellings in Germany – a census. The nationwide survey will begin in May 2022 and last about twelve weeks. Here is what citizens in Germany should know about the census:

How does the census work?
The census consists of two parts: a population census and a census of buildings and housing. The population census is carried out on the basis of the official population registers. Therefore, it is not necessary to survey each and everyone as in a traditional census. The data from the population registers are supplemented by a sample-based household survey. A random procedure is used to select addresses; all people living there will be surveyed, which is a total of roughly 10.2 million citizens. In addition, all those living in residential establishments and collective living quarters will be counted. The census of buildings and housing covers all 23 million owners of buildings and dwellings.

Why do we need a census?
The 2020 Census supplies reliable figures on the population, buildings and dwellings as well as demographic information on people, households and families in Germany and its regions. Many decisions taken at the federal, Land and municipal levels are based on these data. The census results are used as a basis for planning new dwellings, transport networks, educational establishments and the like. Population figures are the basis of the delimitation of constituency boundaries, the distribution of Bundesrat votes and the fiscal equalisation schemes among the Länder and among municipalities, for example.

How will citizens know that they have been selected as respondents for the census?
Interviewers will let participants in the survey of households and residential establishments know in writing for when their interview has been scheduled. All owners of residential property will be contacted by post by the Land statistical office in charge about their participation in the census of buildings and housing.

Who has to answer census questions?
If a household has been selected for participation in the census, everyone living in that household is generally obliged to answer the census questions, irrespective of their age or citizenship. One household member can answer the questions of the brief personal interview on behalf of all others. If respondents cannot take part in the interview because they are too young or have health problems, other household members who are of age have to answer on their behalf. Minors are obliged to provide information themselves only if they have a household of their own.

Do citizens have to answer the census questions?
Citizens are legally obliged to participate in the census. Those who do not answer in time will be reminded to do so in a friendly manner. Citizens who refuse to respond although they have been selected for the census will receive a reminder and, at a later stage, will have to pay a coercive fine.

How is the survey conducted?
The census of buildings and housing is taken by online questionnaire. Participants will receive a letter with their login details. Those who cannot answer the questions online will be sent a paper questionnaire with a letter to remind them. The population census consist of a brief personal interview, on the one hand, which takes about five to ten minutes and is conducted by an interviewer. Then there are other questions which should be answered online, wherever possible. All citizens selected will find a letter in their letterbox specifying the date and time of the personal interview.

What should participants do who are unavailable at the time scheduled for the interview?
Citizens who are unavailable at the time scheduled for the census interview can reschedule the appointment. The contact data can be found on the notice sent by the interviewer.

What Covid-19 preventive measures are taken for the personal interview?
All personal interviews will be conducted in keeping with the infection control measures applying at the time. Face-to-face interviews will be short, with little contact and can be carried out at the front door or outside. All other questions can be answered online. The interviewers will enter a dwelling or house only when explicitly asked to do so by the respondent.

What questions are there on the questionnaires?
The data which have to be entered in the population census questionnaire relate to the data of birth, sex, marital status and citizenship, for instance. Most respondents will also answer further questions about their education, employment and occupation.
The questions in the census of buildings and housing refer to the type of the building, its size, year of construction and the net rent exclusive of heating expenses, among others.
The online questionnaires (in English) will be available shortly at www.zensus2022.de.

How do the online questionnaires work?
All census participants will receive a letter containing login details for the online questionnaire. After the login details have been entered at www.zensus2022.de, the questions can easily be answered online.
The online questionnaire of the population census is offered in 14 different languages in addition to German (Arabic, Bulgarian, English, French, Greek, Italian, Croatian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish).
Apart from German, the online questionnaire of the census of buildings and housing is provided in English, Russian, Turkish, Polish and Italian.

How does the census ensure data security?
All census staff are subject to the legal obligation to secrecy. Online data transmission will always be encrypted and the microdata collected will not be passed on to third parties outside the sphere of official statistics - not even to other authorities. Personal data will be deleted as soon as possible so that conclusions about the respective persons cannot be drawn. The data collected will be safeguarded by structural, technical and organisational access restrictions in accordance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the requirements of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

When will the results be published?
The results of the 2022 Census will be available in November 2023.


A short overview of the most important informations about the 2022 census is provided in our infographic (in German).

Infografik zum Zensus 2022 (PDF, 118 kB, File not barrier free)

Further information on the 2022 Census, factsheets (in German) and pictures for reproduction are provided at www.zensus2022.de.

If you are interested, we will be pleased to find you interview partners regarding census issues.

Follow us on www.twitter.com/zensus2022!

For further information: www.zensus2022.de/contact

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