Scottish Census Day 2011 preparations under way

The 10-yearly exercise of taking down the nation's particulars is a huge logistical exercise

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More than 6,000 temporary staff have been drafted in ahead of Scotland's 2011 census, officials have said.

Forms will be delivered to 2.5 million households over the next few weeks, asking for details about health and employment as well as age and gender.

Statistics gleaned from the population survey will be used to inform how services such as health, housing and education are targeted.

Census Day is earmarked for Sunday 27 March.

Scotland's Census 2011, which is being organised by the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), is expected to cost £65m to operate.

Citizens are legally required to complete the questionnaire and could face a fine of up to £1,000 if they fail to comply.

However, organisers said it was a massive challenge to reach everyone.

Scotland's Registrar General, Duncan Macniven, said staff would be trying to reach groups like older or disabled people or those with English as a second language who may be daunted by the census form.

Every household in Scotland will receive a questionnaire that asks 13 questions about the household and up to 35 questions about each person who usually lives at that address.

People who stay in managed residential accommodation other than a family home will be asked to fill in an individual questionnaire.

Census 2011 facts

  • Questionnaire can be filled in online
  • there are 13 questions about your household
  • there are up to 35 questions about each person who usually lives at your address
  • Information is kept confidential for 100 years

Mr Macniven said: "It is vital to the Scottish nation because it is the only way of getting a complete picture of the whole Scottish population and especially getting information about small areas and small groups of people within the country.

"It is really important to Scotland that everybody fills it in but it is difficult to catch people in a 24-hour society, and that is our challenge."

A census is held every ten years in the UK. The census information is kept confidential for 100 years.

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