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Census Coverage Survey 2022


The Census Coverage Survey is a really important part of Scotland’s Census.

It is a separate survey that we will run from June 2022. It has an vital role in helping us to make sure that we produce high quality census outputs.

It covers around 53,000 Scottish households across Scotland.

As in the rest of the UK, the survey was run in Scotland after the 2001 and 2011 censuses.

It was also run in the rest of the UK after their 2021 censuses. It is an established and important part of Scotland’s Census.

Even if you have completed the census, you may still be asked to take part in the Census Coverage Survey.

By doing so, you are helping improve the quality of the census.

Having an accurate census has many benefits to Scotland. See examples of census data being put to use

Why we need the Census Coverage Survey

While censuses have a very high response, they don’t usually deliver a 100% return rate.

The Census Coverage Survey has been used since 2001 to help estimate how many households and people have not returned a census form, or who have been counted twice.

We do this by identifying how many households have been:

  • counted in both the census and the Census Coverage Survey
  • counted in the census only
  • counted in the Census Coverage Survey only

Through this work we can add to the census returns to provide a very accurate estimate of Scotland’s population.

Read more about our estimation and adjustment work.

What will happen if you are asked to take part

After the census, we will select a sample of postcodes from across Scotland to take part in the survey.

If you are chosen to take part, you should receive an introduction letter to let you know.

After that, an interviewer will call at your address to fill in the questionnaire with you.

If you are not home when our interviewer calls, they will return at a different time and will leave a card so you can contact them directly.

You can also ask them to come back at a time that is better for you.

The questions we ask are similar to those from the census questionnaire but there are fewer of them.

The survey should only take about 10-15 minutes and anybody in the household aged 16 or over can complete it for everyone staying at your address.

The interviewer will be wearing an identity card when they call.

Read more about the steps we are taking to make sure visits are safe and in-line with public health guidance.

If you are asked to complete a paper questionnaire by yourself

If it is not possible to do the survey with you in person, we will post a paper questionnaire through your door.

Any member of the household aged 16 or over can complete the questionnaire and post it back using the pre-paid envelope provided.

Please return your questionnaire before 19 August 2022.

If there are more than 5 people living at your address, you will need to complete your questionnaire over the phone. Call 0800 033 4010 to speak to one of our team.

Help and support over the phone

If you would like to speak to an advisor about the Census Coverage Survey, call our helpline free on 0800 033 4010.

The helpline is open:

  • Monday to Friday: 9am to 6pm
  • Saturday: 9am to noon
  • Sunday: Closed

Help and support in other languages


You can complete your survey questionnaire in Gaelic. If the interviewer does not speak Gaelic, you can access our language support line on 0800 030 8333.

British Sign Language  

British Sign Language users can make use of the contactSCOTLAND-BSL free video relay service.

You may need to download an app from the contactSCOTLAND-BSL website to use this service.

Our number is: 0800 033 4010

Text relay

Text relay is available for people with hearing or speech difficulties. Call: 18001 0800 033 4010.

Other languages

We can offer support in most languages through our contact centre. Call  0800 030 8333 for this service.

Protecting and using your information

Your personal information will be kept secure and confidential and is protected by law.

As with the census, your responses cannot be:

  • used to change any service you use or receive, for example benefits
  • seen by anyone who makes decisions about you, for example the Department for Work and Pensions or Social Security Scotland

Read more about how we protect the privacy of information we collect in the Census Coverage Survey.