Results show the usual resident population of England and Wales was 59,597,300 on Census Day, 21 March 2021.
This was the largest population ever recorded through a census in England and Wales with an increase of more than 3.5 million (6.3%) compared with Census Day 2011.
The population is also ageing, with 18.6% of people aged 65 and over, up from 16.4% a decade earlier.
Commenting on the numbers, the Office for National Statistics’ Deputy National Statistician Pete Benton said: “Today’s census statistics begin to paint a rich and detailed snapshot of the nation and how we were living during the pandemic. They show the population of England and Wales continued to grow across the decade, albeit at different rates across the regions.
“Ultimately, the full suite of census results, based on the information we all gave, will ensure decisions about how the billions of pounds we spend each year as a nation are made using the best possible evidence. This includes planning our emergency services, mental health care, school places, hospital beds, houses, roads, buses, trains, trams, GPs and dentists’ services.
“Since Census Day the world has continued to change. People continue to move home, some people will have left the country, others will have arrived. People will have changed jobs, some of us now work in offices once again, while others continue to work from home.
“We need to understand all of this and more. The results from Census 2021 – and there’s lots more to follow - therefore provide a key bridge from the past to the future as we deliver more frequent, relevant and timely statistics using data from across government to allow us to understand population change in local areas this year and beyond.”
You can find out more about how the population has changed in different local authority areas and how they compare with others across England and Wales in the interactive article, How the population changed where you live.
These population and household population figures are the first in a series of Census 2021 data being released over the next two years.
From October, until the end of the year, initial topic summary reports including demography, migration, ethnicity, religion, UK armed forces veterans, education, health, the labour market, sexual orientation and gender identity will be released.
Read more information about the Census 2021 release plans on the ONS website