People living in Na h-Eileanan Siar along with those living in parts of Dumfries and Galloway, and of Glasgow, have one week left to take part in the census rehearsal.

Around 72,000 households in those areas received a letter this month with information about the rehearsal and details on how to participate. This week they received another letter, reminding them that they have until Thursday 7 November to complete their census rehearsal questionnaire.

Taking part in the rehearsal is voluntary, but doing so helps preparation for Scotland’s census 2021. The census findings are vitally important to the planning of public services such as schools, roads and hospitals.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop visited the Census Rehearsal Helpline office, where staff answer questions from the public and help them complete their census, either online or by requesting a paper copy.

Ms Hyslop said: “Census results are vital for helping the government, local authorities and key services plan for every element of life in Scotland – from the construction of new homes to NHS support. The census also becomes part of our history – in the future our descendants will be able to find out about us and how we lived.

“I’d like to thank the many people in the rehearsal areas who have already filled out their questionnaire. For those who haven’t yet, there’s still time to take part, with one week left until it closes on 7 November.”

Pete Whitehouse, Director of Statistical Service, NRS, said: “The census takes place every 10 years and is a unique count of everyone in Scotland. It is important we get it right in 2021, and taking part in the rehearsal helps us to do just that. By taking part in the rehearsal, you’re helping to shape Scotland’s future and improve the lives of people living and working in Scotland.”

People who live in the rehearsal areas and are looking for more information can visit or call the census helpline on 0800 030 8333 until 7 November. They can also follow on Facebook and Twitter @scotcensus2021.

Every ten years there is an official count of Scotland’s population. Scotland’s next census, subject to the approval of the Scottish Parliament, will be held on 21 March 2021. This will be the 22nd census to take place since 1801 and the 17th to be managed independently in Scotland. 

The questions being asked in the October rehearsal, and the guidance provided, may not be identical to what is asked in the census, as the rehearsal will help inform decision-making for the census in 2021. The final census questions are planned to be agreed through the Scottish Parliament by summer 2020.

The personal information about individuals is confidential and answers are anonymised and analysed to produce national and local statistics. Records are protected for 100 years. NRS statisticians use the information to calculate facts and figures for Scotland and for local areas, but it cannot be used to identify any individual person.