Scotland's census launches following coronavirus delay

The census was pushed to March 2022 because of the impact of the pandemic.

Scotland’s census launches following delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic iStock

People across Scotland have been urged to complete their census return, with letters being sent out to households from Monday.

The census is a count of everyone in Scotland and is used to plan public services and inform investment in areas such as education, transport, and health and social care.

The census was delayed from 2021 until March 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is expected that the majority of census responses will be made online, whilst paper questionnaires will be available for those who wish to use them.

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.

Letters will be over 2.5 million households in the country, representing around 5.5 million people, with information on how to take part.

Scotland’s official census day is March 20, but households can complete their return now, although responses should reflect people’s circumstances on census day.

Pete Whitehouse, from the National Records of Scotland (NRS), said that the census helps to “understand the shape of Scotland”, as well as informing important funding decisions.”

He added: “It’s really important that everyone participates, whether online or by paper form. “

Scotland’s constitution, external Affairs and culture secretary Angus Robertson outlined the need to maximise participation in the census.

“Scotland’s census is unique in asking the whole nation important questions that help us to better understand the future needs of our communities,” said Robertson.

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

“It’s essential we maximise participation and ensure that everyone is heard and their needs captured.”

Help and support is available online at or via the free helpline 0800 030 8308 for anyone who needs it.

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