Using Census Data

The data from Scotland’s Census 2011 provides a rich and detailed source of information for understanding Scotland and its population. The answers given to the census are used to produce anonymous data and statistics that play a vital role in shaping Scotland's future. The individual census records also provide us with a lasting account of Scotland’s people for future generations.

Every year census data are used to inform key decisions made by government bodies, charities, and businesses. Population estimates, area profiles, and detailed data mapping all use census data to help inform the allocation of billions of pounds of funding and investment. Both central government and local authorities also rely on census data to help them plan key services such as healthcare, housing, schooling, and transport.

The census provides our society with knowledge to inform public discussions, and also evidence to hold public bodies to account. Census data are used in social, economic, and health research, and are often combined with other data sets to produce further insight and understanding.

We want you to take advantage of this unrivalled source of free information. Visit Census Results or use the Census Data Explorer to get started. You can also find interactive Maps & Charts, and Supporting Information to help you understand the data.

If you’ve already used Scotland’s Census 2011 data then we want to hear about it. Telling us about your census data uses helps us to improve the accessibility of the data, support your future uses, and ultimately help us plan for the census in 2021. It also enables us to encourage collaboration and raise awareness of the variety of different ways census data can be used.

With this in mind, please get in touch and tell us about your experience of using Scotland's Census data.

How are others benefitting from Scotland’s Census 2011 data?

Different people and organisations use census statistics in a variety of ways. Below are just a few quotes from some census data users, and you can explore some more detailed examples by using the tabs to the left. Any views expressed are those of census data users, and not of National Records of Scotland.

“The Scotland’s census data enable us to demonstrate with authority that there are Jewish people in all Local Authorities and Health Board areas and to show the distribution across the country.” Scottish Council of Jewish Communities

“We use Scotland’s census data for the planning and commissioning of palliative and end of life care service. Knowledge of households and family structure allows the charity to position our services where they are most needed and to ensure flexibility within our models of care. For example, we have services designed around those who live on their own – using this information we can look at how patient needs are changing and this will in turn inform the design of our services to best reflect patient needs. Transport data [from the census] can prove important when understanding access to health and social services across rural areas for example.” – Marie Curie Cancer Care

“From congregations on the streets of our largest cities and smallest communities alike, to those who work on their behalf in resourcing and policy making, the data available in Scotland's Census 2011 is invaluable in serving all of the people of Scotland.” – Church of Scotland

“Scotland’s census data is used as a fundamental indicator of the attraction of place and availability of opportunity. Proposition development to attract inward investors etc. relies heavily on accurate population data. Data on population, migration, housing, education, transport, labour markets and socio-economic information from Census and other national statistical sources play a vital role in our analysis, enabling us to build an evidence base to inform policy and resource allocation. Data is also essential to track progress towards achievement of Scottish Government strategic priorities across the region and, at a more local level, (data zone) as national/regional statistics do not always reflect wide sub-regional and local variations.” – Highlands and Islands Enterprise

“The KnowFife Dataset is a partnership with NHS Fife and Fife Council. We are in the process of adding Scotland’s Census 2011 data to our dataset webpage, including interactive maps, charts, and data tables, as well as reports and profiles available at a range of local Fife geographies.” - KnowFife Dataset

“We recently used Scottish census data to update our National Population Database which we use on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive and other Government departments for estimating the numbers of people at risk from man-made and natural hazards.” - Health & Safety Laboratory Buxton, Derbyshire