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Quality Assurance report – UK Armed Forces veterans topic data


This report accompanies the publication of Scotland’s Census 2022 Armed Forces veterans topic data. It builds on the quality assurance reports published alongside the rounded population estimates in September 2023 and the unrounded population estimates and ethnic group, national identity, language and religion topic data in May 2024. 

Information on response and imputation rates for this topic have also been published and are available on the Scotland’s Census website.

Armed Forces veterans definitions

Individuals who previously served in the UK Armed Forces are included in the numbers published on Armed Forces veterans. The numbers exclude individuals who are currently serving in the UK Armed Forces. We applied a specific quality assurance process to identify currently serving individuals who incorrectly responded that they had previously served in the UK Armed Forces and removed them from this category. 

Regular and reserve Armed Forces definition

The question asked respondents to indicate whether they had previously served in regular Armed Forces or previously served in reserve Armed Forces. The guidance provided alongside the question provided the following list of service branches for people unsure whether had served in the regular or reserve Armed Forces. 


  • Royal Navy Regular 
  • Royal Marines Regular 
  • British Army Regular 
  • Royal Air Force Regular 
  • National Service 
  • Gurkhas 
  • Ulster Defence Regiment 
  • Royal Irish Rangers 
  • Royal Irish Regiment 


  • Full Time Reserve Service 
  • Part Time Reserve Service 
  • Royal Naval Reserve 
  • Women’s Royal Naval Service  
  • Royal Marines Reserve 
  • Royal Fleet Reserve 
  • Royal Fleet Auxiliary 
  • Royal Navy Sponsored Reserve 
  • Army Reserve 
  • Territorial Army 
  • Auxiliary Territorial Service  
  • Army Sponsored Reserve 
  • Ulster Defence Regiment 
  • Royal Irish Rangers 
  • Royal Irish Regiment 
  • Royal Air Force Reserve 
  • Royal Air Force Sponsored Reserve 
  • RAF Reserve of Officers 
  • RAF Reserve of Ranks 
  • Royal Auxiliary Air Force 
  • Women’s Auxiliary Air Force  
  • Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 
  • Royal Air Force Sponsored Reserve 
  • Called-out Reservists 
  • Home Guard 

National Service

National Service as peacetime conscription was formulated in the National Service Act 1948. From 1 January 1949, healthy males, aged between 18 and 30 were expected to serve in the Armed Forces for 18 months (increased to two years during the Korean War, 1950-53), and remain on the reserve list for four years. National Service ended gradually from 1960. Call-ups formally ended on 31 December 1960, and the last National Servicemen left the Armed Forces in May 1963. 

The Armed Forces veterans population has a very high proportion of males (88.3%) and has a high proportion of people aged 80 and over (25.7%); many of the veterans in this age group would have served in the Armed Forces due to National Service. Users should consider the age-sex structure of the Armed Forces veterans population when making comparisons with other groups.