British military veterans will be able to identify themselves as veterans in the next census for the first time.
The Government says the change will allow for improved veterans services, with data collected used to inform mental health support services for former personnel.
There are thought to be more than two million veterans currently in the UK - the Government says the new census question will serve as a common way of asking if someone has served in the Armed Forces.
Only residents of England, Wales and Scotland will be asked if they are a veteran on the next census.
What is the census?
The census provides data on how members of society live and work, as well as informing Government policy, planning and funding decisions at national and local levels.
It takes place every 10 years, and collects information about people, households and their homes.
The first census was held in 1801 with the most recent taking place in 2011.
The next is due to be held on 21 March 2021, with its results available the following year.
People will be able complete the census online on any device, with help and paper questionnaires for those that need them.
Completion of the census is compulsory.
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said: "Allowing veterans to identify themselves in the next census is a key step in ensuring that all of government provides the best support possible.
"Better information means better support and today is a positive step forward in providing that."
Charles Byrne, Director General of The Royal British Legion, said: "The fact that a military question will be in the 2021 Census will significantly improve our understanding of the Armed Forces community which up until now has been very limited.
"It will ensure that we, along with other charities and service providers, can deliver the best service possible to them when and where it is needed most.
"This is something we have been striving towards for many years, it will have a huge impact on service personnel, veterans and their families well into the future, as the outcome will allow us to provide more effective care and support to those who are in need."
Cover image: MOD.