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News Release

Plans for a Census in Scotland in 2021

27 March 2014


National Records of Scotland (NRS) has today announced that it intends to focus on planning for a census in 2021 which will be primarily online, while offering alternative modes of completion where necessary. It also aims to make best use of technology and administrative data in its design, building on the online approach used successfully in the 2011 census.

This follows on from the Beyond 2011 programme of work in Scotland to review the options for providing population statistics. The review focused on two options:

  • an online census option carried out every 10 years supplemented by the use of administrative data to produce annual population estimates in intervening years

  • an administrative data option using administrative data already held by government and annual surveys.

The decision to focus plans on a census in 2021 in Scotland was based on a variety of evidence, including results from research, stakeholder engagement, a user consultation and international experience. A final decision will be taken in 2016 on the basis of the business case.

A programme of consultation and engagement will continue by NRS to understand user requirements and shape the design of the 2021 Census. The findings from Beyond 2011 to date will be incorporated into the programme of work.

Further research will be carried out to enable greater use of administrative data and surveys in the future.

England & Wales (UK Statistics Authority) also plan to carry out a modernised census in 2021 building on an online approach.

For further information please go to the new Census 2021 section on our website.

Page last updated: 26 March 2014

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