Scotland's Census 2021

Planning the next census

Planning for the next census is well underway ahead of March 2021 and, starting in October 2019, we successfully ran a census rehearsal in three areas of Scotland, where we were able to test our systems and processes for 2021. Our rehearsal is now complete and thank you to everyone who took part.

Households in parts of Dumfries and Galloway and Glasgow City and across the whole of Na h-Eileanan Siar took part in the rehearsal and every return we received will help us plan for 2021.

The census in 2021 is being designed and managed in Scotland, to best meet the needs of its users, and will be conducted primarily online, with support available for those who need it.

You can find out more on these pages about our plans for the 2021 Census, including:

  • the design of the census
  • our current plans
  • background and research work
  • legislation needed to run the census
  • how we will secure your privacy
  • how you can get involved

Design

The design for Scotland's Census 2021 draws on our experiences from previous censuses - particularly the last census in 2011 - as well as consideration of the opportunities and challenges presented by technological and societal changes. These have all shaped the scope, main objectives and design of the 2021 Census as well as help us consider what changes are required since 2011. Please visit the Design section to find out more.

Plans

Our current Plans for Scotland's Census 2021 and supporting documents were published on Thursday 27 September, 2018. The plans give details on consultation, tests and stakeholder engagement that have been conducted to help shape the proposed questions, which will be laid before Parliament for agreement before the census takes place.

Background and Research

The decision to plan for a census in 2021 followed on from the NRS Beyond 2011 programme and was made after considering a wide range of evidence, including results from research, stakeholder engagement, a user consultation and international experience. Please visit Background and Research section to find out more.

Legislation

Every census requires legislation to be considered and approved by the Scottish Parliament.  This will detail how the census will be conducted. Please visit our Legislation section to find out more.

Privacy

In undertaking our duties, we fully recognise the importance of privacy. You can find out more about how we plan maintain the confidentiality of census information on our Privacy section.

Get Involved

The success of the next census will rely on a comprehensive understanding of user needs, as well as the awareness, support and participation of the general public. You can find out more about events, consultation and engagement, how to subscribe to our newsletter along with the variety of ways you can Get Involved in this section.