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Like many websites, Scotland's Census (the Service) uses small files called cookies to help provide the best possible online experience for you.

Our Cookies Policy explains what cookies are, how we use cookies, how third parties we may partner with may use cookies on the Service, your choices regarding cookies and further information about cookies.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small pieces of text sent by your web browser by a website you visit. A cookie file is stored in your web browser and allows the Service or a third-party to recognize you and make your next visit easier and the Service more useful to you.

Cookies can be "persistent" or "session" cookies.

  • Persistent cookies continue to exist after you finish your website visit. They are eventually deleted, often after 6 months or longer. They are used to help the Service recognise when you return so that it can remember things like your preferences, or who you are.
  • Session cookies are deleted automatically soon after you finish your website visit, usually within 30 minutes. They are used to help the Service to remember the status of your current visit, for example, a session ID might be stored to ensure you remain logged in.

You can remove cookies from your device at any time, and your device will automatically delete expired cookies.

First and third-party cookies

Cookies can be set in two ways – some are set by the Service itself. Others are set by other services which may be used bring enhanced functionality.

First-party cookies

These cookies are set directly by the Service. Only the Service can read them.

Third-party cookies

These cookies are set by other digital services and are accessible only by those digital services. For example, if a webpage contains an embedded YouTube video, YouTube may set its own cookies to enable the video to work correctly.

Some cookies are set by services used to provide a better experience for you. For example, Google Analytics is a common service used to understand how users interact with websites so the website owners can make improvements, so the website is easier to use.

Some cookies are set by services for advertising purposes. For example, and advertising platform may set a cookie so that it recognises a user across different websites.

It is not the Service which sets these third-party cookies.

Categories of cookies

We categorise cookies based on how they are used and help you to make broad choices about which cookies you allow us to set.

Essential cookies

These cookies let you use all the different parts of the Service. Without them, the Service cannot be provided. They are sometimes called “strictly necessary” cookies.

Some examples of how we use these cookies are:

  • To remember your preferences (for example, whether you have given your consent for cookies to be set)
  • Remembering security settings that affect access to certain content, for example, whether you are logged in.

Functional cookies

These cookies might be used to provide functionality.

For example:

  • enabling embedded video
  • remembering that you have visited the site before so that messages for new visitors are not repeated to you

Performance cookies

These help us make sure that the website is working properly and fix any errors.

Any performance cookies we use collect anonymised data to protect your identity. We do not collect any data on age, gender, sex, political or religious beliefs, nationality, or postcodes through cookies.

Advertising cookies

Some websites use advertising networks to show you specially targeted adverts when you visit. These networks may also be able to track your browsing across different sites.

Cookies are widely used in online advertising. Neither the Service nor its advertising partners can gain personally identifiable information from these cookies.

The cookies we set

Essential cookies

Session ID

Wikipedia page about session IDs


Data stored




Stores a GUID reference to the current logged in backend user. Randomly generated at login and stored in the database.

These are content management system (CMS) backend specific cookies. They are only seen by site administrators accessing the back end of the CMS for the website. They are used in maintaining the session state of the logged in user.

This expires at the end of your session.

SuperWEB cookie, no file name

Stores a random string of numbers and letters.

A SuperWEB cookie created when you open a data table. It retains details of your session and your selections so that we can provide you the right data.

This expires at the end of your session.



Load balancer



Data stored




A unique identifier.

Used for load balancing to make sure the visitor page requests are routed to the same server in any browsing session.

This expires at the end of your session.



Microsoft Application Insights

Microsoft’s privacy policy


Data stored



ai_session, ai_user

A random unique number or string of letters and numbers to identify your browser

We use Microsoft Application Insights software, which collects statistical usage and telemetry information for apps built on the Azure cloud platform. This is a unique anonymous session identifier cookie..

The longest lasting cookie expires after 1 year, the other expires on the same day.



Preference cookies



Data stored




A string for each preference set

Used to store information about a visitor's cookie preference settings

After 1 year


Performance cookies

Google Analytics is an example of a first party cookie used for performance. Other organisations can’t access your data or view cookies used by our website, and we do not sell your data to any third parties. We also do not allow Google to share our analytics data.

Google’s privacy policy


Data stored




Browser ID

Collects information about how you use this website

After 2 years


User ID

Used to distinguish users

After 24 hours

_gat, _dc_gtm_property-id


A numeric value

Used to throttle request rate.

After 1 minute


Advertising cookies

At this point in time, we do not set marketing cookies.

What are your choices regarding cookies?

If you would like to delete cookies or instruct your web browser to delete or refuse cookies, you can do this for any website by visiting the help pages of your web browser.

Please note, however, that if you delete cookies or refuse to accept them, you might not be able to use all of the features we offer, you may not be able to store your preferences, and some of our pages might not display properly.

At the end of this cookie policy, we provide a mechanism for you to accept or refuse cookies for the Service. Using this method rather than your browser’s in-built blocking will enable you to block categories of cookies but keep others active. This will help you to preserve the functionality of the site.

To find out more about cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, visit or