Scotland’s Census is the official count of every person and household in the country.
It usually takes place every 10 years. The census asks questions about people’s age, sex, home and living situation, employment, education and qualifications, as well as ethnicity. Every household in Scotland must complete the census and by doing so are helping to shape Scotland’s future.
Completing the census is important because the answers provide the Scottish Government, and many other service providers, with the data they need to make important decisions that affect people’s lives and their communities. These decisions include how money will be spent on important services like education, housing, healthcare, roads and railways, and so much more.
For the first time ever, Scotland’s Census will include a question about whether people have served in the UK Armed Forces. This comes following extensive campaigning by Poppyscotland and The Royal British Legion, which gained cross-party support from a large number of MSPs and MPs.
The inclusion of the question is significant, because it will help build a more complete and accurate picture than ever before of where in Scotland our veterans are living. This can help understanding of where veteran specific services may be required and identify gaps in current provision. It will also give a clear insight into the ages of these veterans which can help determine where to focus specific support. For areas with a high number of older veterans, support may focus on the suitability of health and social care services, while areas with a population of younger veterans may benefit from a greater focus on employability and education.
From the end of February, households will begin to receive a letter with instructions on how to complete their census online. Census Day is 20 March but you can fill it in as soon as you receive your letter, as long as you answer questions with information that will be correct on 20 March.
It’s really important for our veterans community that all households answer the question about whether any of its members have served in the Armed Forces accurately, as this will directly impact the support, services and opportunities for veterans all over Scotland now and in the future.
The census only takes place every ten years, so now is our opportunity to be counted. Go to census.gov.scot or call the free helpline on 0800 030 8308 for help and guidance on the questions, or if you need support to fill it in.