Adult lifestage

Adult lifestage classifies adults in households aged 16 to 24 by the presence of dependent children in the household. Adults aged between 25 and 54 are classified by age, by the presence of dependent children in the household, and by the age of the youngest dependent child if any are present. Adults aged 55 and over are classified by age and whether they are in one- or two-person households. Those aged 55-74 are further classified by the presence of dependent children.

Adult (alternative classification)

In a small number of census results, for example some versions of 'Household composition' or 'Adult lifestage', adult is used to refer to those aged 16 and over and children to those aged 15 and under. This definition is different from the standard definition for adults, children and dependent children used in most census results. When this definition is used, it is clearly indicated.

I gave you my details on a census questionnaire. Will somebody else be able to get hold of them via a Freedom of Information request?

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.

Why can't you get census information from other government data sources?

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.

What is census information used for?

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.

Who runs the census?

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.

What is the census?

The census counts everyone in Scotland once every ten years. It is the country's biggest statistics gathering exercise. Anonymised (with all personal details removed) census results are a snapshot of the number and characteristics of people on census day. The figures are the only reliable measure of the entire population and they help shape everyone's future as the basis for effective public services for the next decade. Find out more in our What is the Census section.

Why do you release the data in phases instead of in one go?

Census results are complex and time-consuming to produce and there is a vast array of data to be produced. Later data releases are more detailed and complex than the first release data. It would take longer to get results published if we were to wait and release all of the data at once. Users have also told us that they would like data as soon as it becomes available.


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