UK Census Data

The previous UK censuses took place on 27 March 2011. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) was responsible for disseminating 2011 census statistics for the UK. A report detailing comparability between the three UK Census offices is available to download from the UK Census web page (external link).

A key aim for the 2021 Census is to produce consistent and coherent outputs for the UK and for each component country. The Registrars General of Scotland, England and Wales, and Northern Ireland agreed (subject to the need for approval, where appropriate, by the relevant legislatures) to conduct censuses simultaneously in 2021.

UK Harmonisation

The conduct of the 2021 censuses in the UK – The agreement between the National Statistician and the Registrars General for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The conduct of the 2021 censuses in the UK second report – This is the second progress report on the statement of agreement between the National Statistician and the Registrars General for Scotland and Northern Ireland. It covers the conduct of the 2021 censuses, which are intended to be carried out simultaneously throughout the UK.

The censuses in all UK countries have been designed to be undertaken in a consistent manner. The three census offices work closely with each other through multiple topic-based harmonisation working groups which aim to harmonise the approach to the 2021 censuses where possible and to maximise the ability to produce UK-wide Census data products.

However, there will be differences in some of the questions asked, some of the processing, and some of the detailed methodology. Further information will be made available via the individual countries websites as work on the harmonisation of the 2021 censuses continue. Work will continue at pace to share the lessons learned, best practice from each census office and to identify and explain to stakeholders any areas where UK harmonisation is not achievable.

Are you a UK data user? We would be keen to hear from anyone who uses UK Census data so we can understand and best support your data needs. Please contact scotlandscensus@nrscotland.gov.uk to share your UK census data needs.