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Enumeration is the word we use to describe how we make sure households and individuals complete the census.

There are several stages to this:

  • creating and checking our address register
  • contacting households
  • contacting communal establishments
  • field work

Address register checking

We developed our address register using Ordnance Survey's Address Base Premium. We used the register to help us contact:

  • households
  • communal establishment residents
  • groups included in our tailored enumeration approach

In 2021, we worked with our suppliers to check the address register to make sure it was as up-to-date and accurate as possible for the census.

For tailored enumeration, our address check helped us refine our list by changing:

  • holiday and leisure park addresses to communal establishments
  • residential caravan park addresses to households

For addresses that remained tailored, the address check confirmed:

  • the number of caravan pitches
  • number of caravans sited
  • estimated number of usual residents

Contacting households

Because the 2022 census was digital first, we changed the way we contacted households from previous censuses.

Most of our contact with households encouraged online completion, with information about other ways to complete.

For the first time, we used Royal Mail to deliver letters and questionnaire packs. This was cheaper and more efficient that delivering by hand.

Initial contact

Before Census Day on 20 March 2022, we sent letters to about 2.7 million households in Scotland. These letters asked households to complete the census questionnaire online using an Internet Access Code.

The letter also had information about where to get help.

We followed this up before Census Day with a postcard reminder to all households.

Follow-up reminder letters

After Census Day, we sent a series of reminder letters to households that had not completed the census. The letters encouraged householders to complete as soon as possible.

The letters advised households of the legal requirement to complete the census.

We also sent paper questionnaire packs to some non-responding households in harder to reach areas

Follow up visits

After Census Day, our field force began to visit households. These visits were aimed at reminding households of their legal requirement and offering help.

Contacting communal establishments

For the census in 2022, we grouped communal establishments into 4 types. We took a different approach to collecting census data for each type. They were:

  • type 1: care homes, staff accommodation and religions establishments
  • type 2: hospitals, prisons, schools and children’s homes, hotels, guest houses and hostels
  • type 3: student halls and accommodation, defence establishments
  • type 4: homeless people in temporary accommodation, rough sleepers

We sent paper questionnaires and an Internet Access Code to all communal establishments, except for those in type 3.

Residents in type 3 received an Internet Access Code but could chose to complete on paper if they preferred.

Prisons were the only type of establishment where residents could only complete on paper.

Communal establishment managers were responsible for:

  • completing and returning the communal establishment questionnaire
  • supporting residents in a number of ways to complete their own questionnaire

Field work

As part of our field operations for the 2022 census, we divided Scotland into approximately:

  • 170 field work areas
  • 8,900 planning areas

We used these areas to help plan and operate field work. We will also use planning areas for census data processing.

We assigned a team of enumerators to each field work area to follow up non-responding households.

They visited addresses that had not completed a census questionnaire to offer support and assistance. From May, they also offered to help households complete the census on the doorstep.