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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-07008
Asked by: Clare Adamson, Motherwell and Wishaw, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 25 February 2022


To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on when Scotland’s next census will be held.

Current status: Answered by Angus Robertson on 28 February 2022


Scotland’s next census will be held on Sunday 20 March 2022, with letters arriving in households across Scotland from today (28 February), providing instructions on how to take part.

Scotland’s census is the official count of every person and household in the country and the only questionnaire of its kind to ask everyone the same questions at the same time.

It is the responsibility of National Records of Scotland (NRS) to put in place a census that enables everyone across Scotland to participate so that information collected can be used to produce high quality outputs and deliver the benefits required by the people of Scotland. For the first time, Scotland’s Census 2022 will ask a question about previous service in the UK Armed Forces and voluntary questions on trans status or history and sexual orientation, for those over 16.

Scotland’s Census provides people, businesses and organisations with high quality data and analysis which is used to inform key decisions in relation to policy making, investment decisions and the planning and delivery of key services. The census also helps paint a rich picture of the of the population, helping us to better understand the similarities and differences in the population’s characteristics locally and nationally, now and over time. The census also becomes part of our history. In the future our descendants will be able to find out about us and how we lived.

This will be the first census to take place since the Scottish Government pledged to make public services “digital first”, recognising that this is now a favoured channel for many. This approach will also deliver a number of benefits in terms of ease of completion and accessibility for respondents. It is important however that all households are able to complete their census return, with paper questionnaires available upon request. Help and support will also be available for those who need it via a dedicated contact centre and the Scotland’s Census website.

I urge members to help ensure a successful census by encouraging maximum participation amongst all communities across Scotland.