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Scotland takes national census online

03/10/18

Mark Say Managing Editor

Scotland’s national census in 2021 will be run primarily online, with every household in the country encouraged to respond to the questions on a dedicated digital platform.

Scottish flag

National Records of Scotland (NRS), which runs the census, has published plans under which every household will be sent information in advance that will include a unique internet access code to take part.

It will encourage everybody to fill in the form online, with help available through local support hubs and telephone and online assistance channels, although NRS is considering whether to make the paper forms available for a small number of areas.

The address list will be based mainly on the One Scotland Gazetteer although it will also draw on other sources.

The plan also includes sending field workers equipped with mobile devices to visit households that have not completed the census after the deadline date. They will be able to obtain new access codes or possibly request paper questionnaires for the residents.

It was possible to complete the census, which takes place every 10 years, online in 2011, but printed questionnaires were still sent to every house in Scotland.

200-year history

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said: "For more than 200 years, Scotland has relied on the census to underpin national and local decision making. The census is the only complete source of whole population information about Scotland.

"By encouraging and assisting people to complete their census online, and asking questions which reflect a modern, inclusive Scotland, these proposals ensure the census will continue to be a vital source of information for decades to come."

Registrar General for Scotland Anne Slater said: "The publication today of Plans for Scotland's Census 2021 is a major milestone in delivering a successful census. These proposals have been developed based on robust research and testing and we have consulted many people and organisations to take full account of Scotland's diverse population."

Image by flickrtickr2009 from Wikimedia, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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