The Government has announced that the next census will take place on Sunday 18 April 2021.

A decision has also been made on the questions that are to appear in the cenus, including eight new ones.

These will be focused on renewable energy sources, smoking, volunteering, childcare, commuting home from work, school or college, internet access and devices, smoke alarms and working from home.

The 25 other existing questions, including those dealing with disability, ethnic group, Irish language and religion, have also been updated.

The changes to the form are the first substantial ones since 2011.

For the first time, the census will also include a new voluntary "time capsule", a feature that will enable people to write a confidential message of their choice that will be stored securely for 100 years.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Senior Statistician at the CSO Cormac Halpin said: "We thought it would be a good idea for people to get the opportunity to add some handwritten content themselves to the back of the Census form that will be stored for 100 years in a confidential, secure warehouse.

"We think it gives people the opportunity to add something to their Census form that they mightn't have the opportunity to do elsewhere."

The changes follow a public consultation carried out by the Central Statistics Office in 2017, to which more than 400 submissions were made.

Changes and additions were then tested in a pilot survey in September last year in 35 areas in seven counties, with 10,000 households taking part.

The Census Advisory Group, made up of representatives from government departments and local authorities, the social partners, universities and research institutes, interest groups and other relevant bodies and CSO staff, has been in charge of the process.

In 2021, every other EU member state will also have to carry out a census.

Mr Halpin said the census drives a huge amount of policy and service configuration within the country.

He added that the office has a range of users from Government departments and interest groups proving that the census is very "relevant".