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Scotland’s Census 2022 launches

Scotland’s Census 2022 launches today (February 28) with a call for households across Scotland to complete their return.


The census is a unique count of everyone in Scotland; it is used to plan vital public services and inform investment in areas such as education, transport, health and social care. For the first time it is anticipated that the majority of census responses will be made online, with paper questionnaires available for those who wish to use them.


From today more than 2.5 million households representing 5.5 million people will receive a letter with information on how to participate. Census Day is 20 March but households can complete their return now, although responses should reflect their circumstances on census day.


The launch of the census in Glasgow will be marked by the unveiling of a large-scale artwork by Pilar Garcia de Leaniz, a Spanish artist based in Edinburgh. The artwork ‘Scotland Connected’ represents the fabric of Scotland, its people and the role of the census. The ‘Scotland Connected’ artwork will tour a number of communities across Scotland, who will each add to the artwork during March in the run up to its arrival in Edinburgh on census day.


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

“Scotland’s Census is unique in asking the whole nation important questions that help us to better understand the future needs of our communities.

"The census helps the Scottish Government, Local Government and other service providers to plan services and make decisions about how public money will be spent on major services in our communities, including schools, roads and hospitals.

“It's essential we maximise participation and ensure that everyone is heard and their needs captured.”


The census will ask 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 on British Sign Language (BSL), passports held, sexual orientation, trans status and previous armed forces service history.


Pete Whitehouse, Director of Statistical Services, National Records of Scotland (NRS), said:

“I am delighted to launch Scotland’s Census 2022 today in Glasgow and to celebrate this unique exercise, which helps us understand the shape of Scotland and informs important funding decisions for the vital public services we all rely on.

“It’s really important that everyone participates, whether online or by paper form. Help and support is available on our website or via our free helpline 0800 030 8308, for anyone who needs it.

“We are privileged to be able to call on Pilar’s creative support in bringing the census to life and I very much look forward to seeing the ‘Scotland Connected’ artwork being completed as it visits our many and diverse communities between now and Census Day.”


Pilar Garcia de Leaniz studied as a Master of Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art where she is currently a Teaching Fellow in Textiles, said:

“The artwork ‘Scotland Connected’ is a visual representation of the fabric of Scotland, showcasing its people, landmarks and the benefits of the census. “Scotland Connected” is inspired by a desire to show everything that’s great about Scotland and I’m excited to see the canvas come to life over the coming weeks as it tours communities.

“It’s been a real honour to be a part of the project and have the chance to produce a piece that captures the essence of the census and the way in which it benefits communities across Scotland.”


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