Background and Research on Scotland's Census 2021

The decision to plan for a census in 2021 followed on from the NRS Beyond 2011 programme and was made after considering a wide range of evidence, including results from research, stakeholder engagement, a user consultation and international experience. A variety of reports have been published in relation to the background and research for Scotland's Census 2021:

Beyond 2011 Programme

The Beyond 2011 programme was established by the National Records of Scotland in September 2011 to explore the future provision of population and socio-demographic statistics in Scotland. The programme aimed to investigate a range of options and alternatives, including the possibility of using administrative sources and methods for developing a more cost-effective and efficient census design. The programme closed in March 2014 following a recommendation to hold a census in 2021.

A formal consultation on user requirements ran from March to June 2013. It focused on gathering users’ views on their future requirements for population and socio-demographic statistics including:

  • the frequency of data provided;
  • the geographical level at which data is available;
  • the accuracy of the data; and
  • the level of disaggregation required.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) published  Beyond 2011 - Consultation on User Requirements for Population and Socio-demographic Information - An Analysis of Responses report (PDF link to NRS website) in 2013. NRS also carried out a series of stakeholder engagement events across Scotland between November 2012 - March 2013. Key findings from these events were also published in Beyond 2011 - Stakeholder Engagement workshops Combined write-ups from events November 2012 – March 2013 report. (PDF link to NRS website)

Scotland’s Census 2011 General Report

National Records of Scotland have published Scotland’s Census 2011 General Report and laid it before the Scottish Parliament in October 2015.  The report reviews the entire 2011 Census operation from the early planning and consultation through to the production and dissemination of outputs and evaluation.  It provides a wealth of detail about how Scotland’s Census 2011 was carried out and what we have learned to take forward in our planning for the next census. It reports on the successes as well as challenges and lessons to be learned for the census operation in the future. The main findings are summarised in the following themes:

  • programme management
  • legislation and the parliamentary process
  • stakeholder management
  • the census coverage survey
  • data collection and field operation
  • data processing and statistical methodology
  • output content production and dissemination

Scotland’s Census 2011 - User Satisfaction Survey Summary Report

Scotland’s Census 2011 User Satisfaction survey was a survey of known census data users. The survey was conducted between Tuesday 23 June and Tuesday 21 July 2015 and asked for views on:

  • use of census outputs and products
  • how well they felt that the outputs were publicised
  • the accessibility of the outputs and other information on Scotland’s Census website
  • overall satisfaction with the outputs; and
  • suggestions users have for future outputs and their dissemination

An analysis of the User Satisfaction Survey can be found in Scotland’s Census 2011 - User Satisfaction Survey Summary Report.  

UK Statistics Authority  - Special Assessment of the 2011 Censuses in the UK

This report from UK Statistics Authority brings to a close the Assessment of the official statistics from the three censuses conducted in 2011 in England and Wales, in Scotland, and in Northern Ireland. It was prepared by the Authority’s Assessment team, and approved by the Regulation Committee on behalf of the Board of the Statistics Authority, based on the advice of the Director General for Regulation. Special Assessment of the 2011 Censuses in the UK: Phase 3 (Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency) (PDF Link to UKSA website) was published in November 2015.