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Microdata are small samples of data for whole households and individuals.

Microdata enables researchers to see combinations of information that would not normally be possible from standard census tables.

Microdata files do not contain any information that could identify a person or household.

All our microdata products contain information from the 2001 and 2011 censuses in Scotland.

You can also access:

Teaching file

The microdata teaching file contains records for a random anonymous sample of 1% of Scotland’s population.

The teaching file contains less detail than other microdata files. Information is mostly presented at a high level.

Anyone can download and use the teaching file under the Open Government Licence.

Download the microdata teaching file and user guide.

Find out more about how you can use the teaching file in the ONS publication Possibilities for exploring the data.

Safeguarded microdata files

Safeguarded microdata files contain 2 random samples of 5% of Scotland’s population.

Safeguarded microdata files include:

  • a file at Scotland level with 82 variables for more than 267,000 people
  • a file at grouped council area level with 75 variables for more than 267,000 people

Download background, guidance and documentation for the safeguarded microdata.

Access the files

Access the safeguarded microdata through the UK Data Service.

You’ll need to register with the UK Data Service before you can access and download the data.

Secure microdata files

The secure microdata files are 2 random samples of 10% of Scotland’s population. They are available only to approved researchers.

Secure microdata files have a higher level of detail and are protected by a more robust level of access limitations than the teaching and safeguarded files.

The files are anonymous and they do not overlap.

Seucre microdata files include:

  • an individual file that includes person-level data on 146 variables for more than 534,000 people
  • a household file that includes person and household data on 220 variables for more than 524,000 people from more than 247,000 households

Get background information and guidance for using the secure microdata files.

Access the files

To access secure microdata files, you must be approved by the ONS Secure Research Service.

Find out how to be accepted as an approved researcher.

We’re also looking at how we can give researchers secure access to microdata.

Custom Microdata Files

Custom microdata extracts can be created upon request to meet bespoke research needs.

Custom microdata extracts can include individual census records. Because of this, access to these files is very restricted. To discuss access to custom microdata extracts, please contact us.

Download background information and the privacy statement for custom microdata projects.

Scottish Longitudinal Study

The Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) is a large-scale linkage study representing 5.3% of the Scottish population using data from administrative and statistical sources.

This includes:

  • census data from 1991 onwards
  • vital evens data (births, deaths and marriages)
  • NHS Central Register data (gives information on migration into/out of Scotland)
  • education data, including schools census and SQA data

Find out more about the study on the SLS website.