Zensus What questions does the 2022 Census ask?

Pressrelease #13 of 10. May 2022

  • The 2022 Census asks questions about education, employment, households and residential space
  • All questions and questionnaires are available (in German) at zensus2022.de/Musterfragebogen
  • The results are the basis of political decisions relating to all of Germany


WIESBADEN - The reference date of the 2022 Census is 15 May. Data collection will start in the middle of May in all of Germany via a population census and a census of buildings and housing. The population census is based on the data from the population registers and supplemented by a sample survey.

Who will be included in the 2022 Census?
A random procedure is used to select addresses; all people living there will be surveyed. These are approximately 10.3 million citizens all over Germany. In addition, all those living in residential establishments and collective living quarters will be counted. The census of buildings and housing includes all 23 million owners of residential space.

What information is collected - and why?
The population census begins with a short personal interview. An interviewer will ask questions about all persons living in the household, for instance about their names, sex and marital status. This is to determine the population figures. About three fourths of respondents will answer further questions about education, employment and occupation using an online questionnaire. People who cannot report online will receive a paper questionnaire.
In the census of buildings and housing, all owners of residential space or the persons they have authorised will receive their login details for the online questionnaire by post. They will then answer questions online which refer to the size of the dwelling, year of construction, whether the dwelling is vacant and why, net rent exclusive of heating expenses, type of heating and energy source of their residential property. The results will provide a data basis for addressing current challenges such as the lack of housing and the energy-efficient renovation of buildings in a fact-based manner.
The United Nations recommend conducting a population census every ten years. The 2022 Census in Germany will be part of an EU-wide census round. The questions are largely in accordance with international recommendations and as specified by the European Union to make results comparable. Many decisions taken at the federal, Land and municipal levels are based on population and housing figures. Accurate population figures are the basis of our democracy as they are used to set constituency boundaries and determine the amounts to be paid as subsidies between Germany and the EU, for example. The legislators require a high level of accuracy and quality of the results and therefore made answering the questions mandatory.

Why are personal data collected and what happens to them?
Questions referring to personal data such as name and date of birth are needed to conduct the survey. Overall project leader Katja Wilken: “These so-called auxiliary variables are used for internal comparisons with population register data to adjust the statistics internally for population register overcoverage and undercoverage and establish the population figures for Germany and for individual municipalities.” As soon as possible, the auxiliary variables will be separated from the variables used for evaluation and deleted. The census of buildings and housing asks for the names and surnames of two tenants. These auxiliary variables are needed to allocate people to their residential households automatically (so-called household generating procedure). This is to derive information about the average floor area available to one person or to a family with several members, for instance.
There are strict data protection rules. All data collected are evaluated in anonymised form only and must not be transferred back to authorities or registers.

What information is not collected?
There are false claims that the Census 2022 collects information about income or vaccination status. The fact check on the census website at zensus2022.de/fact-check corrects such fake news and resolves misunderstandings.

Further information on the 2022 Census, factsheets and pictures for reproduction are provided at www.zensus2022.de.
If you are interested, we will be pleased to find you interview partners to discuss census issues.

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For further information: www.zensus2022.de/contact