Census Day: Every home required to help build snapshot of the nation

Responses to the census will be used to document the country's population and help plan public services.

Scotland’s Census Day: Every home required to help build snapshot of the nation iStock

Sunday is officially Scotland’s Census Day.

People across the country are required to submit responses that will be used to build up a picture of the population and help plan public services.

More than one million households around the country have already completed the census, which was delayed from 2021 until March 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Census Day is on March 20 but households have been able to complete their return since February 28.

People don’t need to complete their census on Sunday but are being urged to complete the form as soon as possible with information that is correct as of Census Day – as the aim is provide a snapshot of Scotland on that day.

Letters have been issued to more than 2.7 million households, representing 5.5 million people.

What is the census?

The Census is the official count of every person and household in the country

A census of the population has been taken every 10 years in Scotland since 1801, with the exception of 1941, because of the Second World War, and in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why do I need to do it?

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

The once-in-a-decade count will also be used to plan public services, documenting population density throughout Scotland.

Furthermore, it will help local authorities to make decisions on where to allocate extra resources in areas such as social care and mental health provision.

What happens if I don’t complete the census?

It is a legal responsibility to complete the census and every household in Scotland is required to fill in the questionnaire.

People may face prosecution if they refuse to complete the questionnaire, neglect to answer a question, provide a false answer or sign a false document.

In some cases, people could receive a criminal record and a fine of up to £1000.

What will I be asked?

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.

A last-ditch effort to stop Scots from being able to self-identify their gender on the census for was rejected.

Fair Play for Women lost its appeal against a decision by Lord Sandison who ruled transgender people can give a different answer from the sex on their birth certificate without the need for a gender recognition certificate (GRC).

How do I complete the form?

You can complete the census online here – you will require the unique access code on the letter sent to you in order to start the process.

Letters were sent out to households in February and paper questionnaires are available for those who wish to use them.

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