Pandemic delays Scottish census until 2022
Plans to hold Scotland’s next census next year have been put on hold until 2022.
In October, Dumfriesshire residents in rural and border communities took part in a rehearsal to help the National Records of Scotland (NRS) get ready for the proposed 2021 census.
The rehearsal to test the planned census collection involved around 18,000 households from Moffat to Eastriggs and from Dumfries to Langholm.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic next year’s census has been moved to March, 2022.
The change means that Scotland’s census will now run to a different timescale to the rest of the UK.
A census has been held in Scotland every ten years since 1801, apart from 1941, and provides information to inform a range of decisions on schools, hospitals, roads and transport provision.
Paul Lowe from NRS said: “The census is a major logistical operation and the 12 months running up to a census are vital in planning and testing the effectiveness and security of systems and processes.
“Covid-19 restrictions have delayed or prevented many of these key activitiesfrom taking place over recent months.
“This is the right decision for Scotland which will allow us to undertake a highquality and safe census in 2022 that will produce the rich data we need for many years to come. That remains our absolute priority.”
Cabinet secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This decision was not taken lightly.
“The quality of the census data must remain robust and by moving to 2022 National Records of Scotland can continue to deliver a census which ensures the highest possible response rate from people across Scotland to allow government, local authorities and key services plan for every element of public life, from building homes to NHS support.”