2021 Question Development update

We recently published our ‘Plans for Scotland’s Census 2021' which lay out proposals for how the census will be conducted and the questions it will ask. Alongside this, our topic reports detail the research and testing we have done in our question development. The census will continue to collect information on housing, families and individuals in Scotland that is vital to help shape Scotland's future.

Some changes to the content of the census questionnaire are being considered to better meet user needs, improve data quality, meet new or emerging policy requirements or where there have been changes in international guidelines or legislation.

NRS will be presenting these changes at forthcoming events in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow at our 2021 Questions and Outputs Events this winter (link to Eventbrite website). 

Work is on-going to test and consider possible changes to a number of questions, including:

  • a non-binary question which would allow people to record their sex as female, male or other;
  • the inclusion of response options for Roma, Showpeople, Sikh and Jewish in the ethnic group question, as well as how data is collected in the African category;
  • the inclusion of Pagan in the religion question, and how more detailed data could be collected for Muslim.

Under the proposals in our Plans for Scotland’s Census 2021, the census will also ask new questions on:

  • whether the respondent is a veteran;
  • sexual orientation;
  • transgender status and history;
  • British Sign Language; and
  • passports held.

As set out in 2018-19  Programme for Government, a Bill will be introduced this parliamentary session to allow sexual orientation and transgender questions to be asked on a voluntary basis.

Our programme of question and output development is on-going, to make sure that we produce high-quality census outputs that meet user needs. For more information, see our Question Development pages or get in touch with us at scotlandscensus@nrscotland.gov.uk.