The Census 2021 hex game

Last year the Office for National Statistics carried out the 2021 Census. We, and many of our sponsors, regularly make use of ONS Census data to compare different areas and as the last Census was in 2011 we are keenly anticipating getting the latest data. As part of the release of the 2021 Census, the ONS have released a game that uses their latest population estimates. The game is like a cross between Wordle and Blockbusters - it is a guessing game with an interface based on a hex cartogram of the UK. Not just any old layout either - it is the hex layout of local authorities that we created and released openly for others to use. You may recognise it from tools such as the UK Data Landscape visualisation and our COVID-19 visualisations.

The ONS' map daily game gives you a starting local authority and you then have to head to a destination local authority hex by guessing if the next hex has a higher or lower population. If you get it wrong that hex turns red and blocks your progress in that direction. It can be straightforward to tell that the cities have higher populations than more rural areas but it gets particularly tricky when you go from rural area to rural area. It is a fun, and very different, way to explore the latest census data. Enjoy!

A hex map layout of the UK with most hexes grey. A line of mostly green hexes stretches from Wandsworth to Pendle with 15/18 correct.
A screenshot of the Census map game from ONS
Credit: ONS

I certainly won't suggest that anyone make use of our hex map builder tool's new features to load My Society's CSV of local authorities and colour the map by the pop-2020 attribute. That would be cheating ;)