FAQ

The census is the most comprehensive population and household survey. The answers people give to the census are used to produce anonymised statistics that help central and local government and other organisations decide where billions of pounds of public money will be spent every year, for example on services everyone needs, such as education, transport, housing and healthcare.

If you would like to see our schedule of releases then please have a look at our Outputs Prospectus which describes what results are included within each of the releases and sets out indicative timings for future releases. You may also wish to subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive regular updates on census outputs.

NRS Customer Services will continue to provide a commissioned table service for census statistics. This will be available on demand for customer requirements that are not met by the data available in the published tables. The availability of commissioned tables will be determined by: the data available at each release stage; whether or not NRS already intends to release the data later; statistical disclosure control policies; and available resource. There may be a cost for the production of any commissioned tables and this will reflect the amount of time taken to develop the tables and to apply statistical disclosure checking and associated processes.

As with any census there will be a small percentage of people who will have been missed and an even smaller proportion will have been counted twice (perhaps because they live in more than one home, e.g. students).

We are very confident that the estimates are accurate and they have been through a careful process of quality assurance and review by a series of panels.

It takes time to collect, process and check the vast amount of data collected in the census. We try to get the balance right between publishing the results as quickly as possible and ensuring that the quality of the information, upon which key decisions are based, is correct. Users of census data have consistently asked that we concentrate on getting the quality right first time.

Census results are complex and time-consuming to produce and there is a vast array of data to be produced. Later data releases are more detailed and complex than the first release data. It would take longer to get results published if we were to wait and release all of the data at once. Users have also told us that they would like data as soon as it becomes available.

No. In general, census data will be free for anyone to access from our website. Where there is a requirement to have new tables created (for example if they cannot be generated via our range of online tools) then there will be a small charge for "commissioned outputs".

The census counts everyone in Scotland once every ten years. It is the country's biggest statistics gathering exercise. Anonymised (with all personal details removed) census results are a snapshot of the number and characteristics of people on census day. The figures are the only reliable measure of the entire population and they help shape everyone's future as the basis for effective public services for the next decade. Find out more in our What is the Census section.

In 2011 we asked people to tell us what their circumstances were on Sunday 27 March.

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