The census collects information about the characteristics of people and households in the country. It is used by central and local government, health authorities and many other organisations to allocate resources and plan services for everyone.
The 2021 Census section contains information about Scotland’s plans for a proposed census in 2021. On-going research and updates for the 2021 Census, as well as background information on the Beyond 2011 programme.
Products from the 1991 Census are still available within this section.
Censuses contain useful information for family historians, and people interested in Scotland's social history. The statistical reports from the Censuses from 1801 to 1931 are available on the Histpop - The Online Historical Population Reports website. Census records about individual people are left confidential for 100 years to protect privacy. Access to older Census records is described on our ScotlandsPeople website.
The first successful attempt to carry out a census in Scotland was by Alexander Webster (minister and author), which was based on an enquiry he sent to every parish minister in Scotland. It was published as a transcript in Scottish Population Statistics including Webster's Analysis of Population 1755 (PDF 29.3 Mb) with an introduction by former Registrar General for Scotland James Gray Kyd in 1952.
(This digital copy is reproduced by kind permission of the Scottish History Society. (C) Copyright, Scottish History Society, Introduction, notes etc.,1952. All rights reserved.)