This is a new service. Your feedback will help us to improve it.

Designing the questionnaire

We put a lot of care into designing both the online and paper census questionnaires.

As expected, most people completed the census online in 2022. We provided a paper questionnaire to households who could not or did not wish to complete the online questionnaire.

We designed the online questionnaire to be as easy to use as possible. This was backed by research, testing, and best practice.

Find out more about how we developed questions for the 2022 census.

Questionnaire completion

We provided different types of questionnaire, which could be completed online or on paper for different circumstances.

These were:

  • household questionnaire
  • individual questionnaire
  • communal establishment manager questionnaire
  • communal establishment individual questionnaire

Completing online

All of our questionnaires were available to complete online in English and Gaelic, except the communal establishment manager questionnaire.

Households could record up to 30 individuals on their online household questionnaire.

People were able to complete the online questionnaire on a range of devices, including computers, smartphones and tablets.

Other features of the online questionnaire included:

  • relevant on-screen help to help complete questions
  • use of detailed drop-down boxes to reduce the amount of typing or coding required
  • more validation within and between questions
  • redesign of questions to be device neutral

Completing on paper

People who did not want, or were unable, to complete the census online were be able to request any of the questionnaires on paper in English.

We offered paper as the only option for prisons and some population groups.

The household paper questionnaire had space for 5 individuals. If a household had more than 5 people, they could request a continuation questionnaire with space to record more individuals.

Questionnaire types

Household questionnaire

Most addresses in Scotland completed the household questionnaire. There were two types of questions in the household questionnaire:

  • household questions
  • individual questions

The household questions asked about the address and who is living or staying there.

The individual questions asked about each of the people who were staying at the address, including any babies or children.

Not everyone had to answer each question, depending on their circumstances.

Individual questionnaires

If someone in a household wished to provide answers in private, they could request an individual questionnaire. They needed to be aged 16 or over to complete an individual questionnaire.

If you they do chose to complete an individual questionnaire:

  • they still needed to be included as a household member on the household questionnaire
  • we used answers from their individual questionnaire if they were different from those on the household questionnaire
  • we did not inform the household of their request to complete an individual questionnaire
  • they had a legal responsibility to complete it

Communal establishment manager

The communal establishment manager questionnaire was for communal establishments like hospitals, schools, or prisons.

It asked for some basic information about the establishment, like how many people usually stay there. The manager of the establishment was responsible for completing this questionnaire.

Find out more about communal establishments.

Communal establishment individual

The communal individual questionnaire was for people staying in communal establishments on census night. It asked the same questions as the household individual questionnaire, plus some additional ones.