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Call for census completion as local response rates are published

As Scotland’s Census enters its final week National Records of Scotland (NRS) confirmed today that 700,000 householders across Scotland have yet to fulfil their legal responsibility and submit their return. 


NRS reported that the number completing the census varies across the country, with less than two thirds of households in Glasgow having completed their census, compared with more than eight out of every ten households in Aberdeenshire.


With the census due to close on 1 May every household across Scotland is required to complete their return. Scots are reminded that failing to do so could result in prosecution and a fine of up to £1000.


Angus Robertson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture said:

“I want to thank the two million households who have already completed the census and met their legal responsibility. But as we enter the final week many returns remain outstanding. For the census to be effective in delivering its many benefits for future public services, it is vital that we secure a higher response rate and one that reflects the diversity of our communities.

“Today we are calling on all of our communities and organisations to come together and to redouble their efforts to encourage participation. It’s absolutely essential that every householder in Scotland completes the census.”


National Records of Scotland Chief Executive Paul Lowe added:

“Every single household return is vital to the overall success of the census. Census data is vital in informing decisions about services that affect us all. We have put in place a number of additional interventions to support those who have yet to complete a return. This includes a range of additional household reminders. Our field team have already undertaken more than 750,000 household visits to support those who have not completed, and are continuing to make these visits.

“Help and support to complete your census is available on our website or via our free helpline 0800 030 8308. Paper forms are still available on request for those who need them.”

Local Authority Household and Return Rate (%) (1)

  • Aberdeen City - 74.8
  • Aberdeenshire - 82.2
  • Angus - 77.9
  • Argyll and Bute - 75.4
  • City of Edinburgh - 76.4
  • Clackmannanshire - 75.7
  • Dumfries and Galloway - 79.5
  • Dundee City - 70.1
  • East Ayrshire - 73.9
  • East Dunbartonshire - 80.1
  • East Lothian - 78.5
  • East Renfrewshire - 81.1
  • Falkirk - 78.2
  • Fife - 76.5
  • Glasgow City - 65.5
  • Highland - 75.9
  • Inverclyde - 70.6
  • Midlothian - 77.5
  • Moray - 80.6
  • Na h-Eileanan Siar - 78.7
  • North Ayrshire - 72.4
  • North Lanarkshire - 71.5
  • Orkney Islands - 80.0
  • Perth and Kinross - 78.2
  • Renfrewshire - 74.0
  • Scottish Borders - 80.4
  • Shetland Islands - 77.5
  • South Ayrshire - 81.0
  • South Lanarkshire - 75.4
  • Stirling - 78.6
  • West Dunbartonshire - 69.1
  • West Lothian - 75.7

(1) Data presents % households enumerated up to 4am on 25 April 2022

The 2022 census will benefit Scotland for many years; it asks questions on a range of topics, including the types of accommodation people stay in, household relationships, age, sex, health and employment status. New questions for the 2022 census include use of British Sign Language (BSL), passports held, previous armed forces history and new voluntary questions on sexual orientation and trans status.


Census letters have been issued to more than 2.7 million households representing 5.5 million people.


A census of the population has been taken every 10 years in Scotland since 1801, with the exception of 1941, because of World War Two and in 2021 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.


For more information and to complete the census online, visit