The census is organised by the National Records of Scotland (NRS), formally the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), headed by the Registrar General, and overseen by professional statisticians. NRS works with the census offices for England, Wales and Northern Ireland to conduct the census on the same day and to provide comparable census results.

The census is held every 10 years and 2011 marks 150 years of NRS's responsibility for it.

Governments, local authorities, business, academics and many other organisations use the anonymised (with personal information removed) census results to plan ahead and meet Scotland's needs. It reflects our requirements as a nation, city, town or village, or as a group of people within each area. The results mean public services are properly planned and funded. The census results will matter to you, your children and your grandchildren.

The information that the census provides is not available from other sources.

The census is unique because it is the only survey to include everyone in the country. It asks the same questions of us all and in doing so builds a reliable picture of Scotland as a whole, as well as for groups of people and local communities within it.

A review of alternatives to a traditional census was carried out before work began on the Census, which concluded that the census was the only way to meet the information needs in 2011.

No. You cannot get personal census information through a Freedom of Information request. This is set out in sections 38 and 58 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 - personal census information is exempt from disclosure for 100 years.