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

Question development

We've done a lot of research and testing to make sure Scotland’s Census 2022 asks the right questions.

We talked to people and organisations across Scotland to help us decide what subjects to cover and what questions to ask in the census.

In developing questions, we considered:

  • how acceptable questions are to the public
  • how to ask questions in a way that produces reliable answers
  • whether other ways of collecting the information already exist

We measure the effectiveness of our questions using two sets of criteria:

The Scottish Parliament makes the final decision on census questions. Find out more about the legislation that underpins the census.

See the final 2022 question set.

Testing

In 2017, we commissioned ScotCen Social Research to carry out cognitive and qualitative testing of questions for the 2022 census.

Find out more about the background and see a summary of findings in the cognitive and qualitative testing report.

Working with other UK organisations

We work closely with the Office for National Statistics and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency to make sure census results are consistent across the country.

The UK Census Harmonisation Agreement (PDF, 165KB) sets out how we'll work alongside ONS and NISRA to run censuses in the UK.

Topic consultation

We ran a topic consultation between 8 October 2015 and 15 January 2016. It asked census users what topics they thought should be included in the next census.

Our topic consultation report details what we've learned.

You can find out more about our topic consultation in:

Topic areas

We held topic events, meetings and focus groups around Scotland. We used them to get more information about user need and measure the quality and acceptability of new questions.

Our topic reports explore the results of our research into individual topics. They cover the background and evidence that goes into designing questions for the census.

Housing and accommodation

Following the topic consultation, we ran follow-up surveys. These investigated whether questions around tenure and landlord, and number of rooms and bedrooms met user needs. Read summaries of findings from those surveys:

Income

Demographics and household composition

In December 2019 we published a sex question recommendation report.

View the presentation and minutes from our sexual orientation and gender identity stakeholder meeting in January 2017.

Sexual orientation

View the presentation and minutes from our sexual orientation and gender identity stakeholder meeting in January 2017.

Migration

Religion

We held an Ethnicity, National Identity, Language and Religion Topic Event in April 2017.

Ethnic group and national identity

We held a series of events about ethnic groups and national identity:

Language

We also held events about language:

Health and care

We ran a Health and Care Topic Event in April 2017.

Education

We ran an Education and Labour Market Topic Event in December 2017.

Labour market and volunteering

We ran an Education and Labour Market Topic Event in December 2017.

Ex-service status

Travel to work or study

We ran a travel to Work or study survey in July 2018.