The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is pleased to confirm that Scotland’s Census 2022 complies with the Code of Practice for Statistics and has National Statistics status, with the first estimates of Scotland’s population going live today at 9.30am.

The National Statistics assessment process for the Census is a comprehensive, rigorous process that takes place over a number of years. In coming to our decision, we have reviewed the evidence to date, including the progress made against requirements outlined in the 2019 phase one assessment report and the 2023 phase two assessment report, as well as our general expectations for meeting the standards of the Code of Practice for Statistics. As for all OSR assessments, the Regulation Committee has overseen this work, and provided further scrutiny and challenge.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) faced unexpected challenges given that the overall response rate for Scotland’s Census 2022 was lower than had been hoped for. This in itself is not a barrier to National Statistics designation; what is most important is the quality of the output estimate and it is clear that NRS has undertaken an extensive programme of work to achieve this.

We have been impressed with the steps that have been taken to ensure the best quality estimates are produced and to provide assurance for users. For example, in addition to already oversampling its Census Coverage Survey in areas where it expected a lower response, NRS established an International Steering Group to deliver external expertise and advice, made subsequent adaptations and enhancements to statistical methods, and supplemented this survey’s data with administrative data.

NRS has taken a rigorous and methodical approach to the challenges that have arisen and is proactively communicating quality information in order to help users understand, interpret and use these important statistics.

OSR congratulates NRS on achieving this important milestone. As with any assessment that we carry out, we will reflect on user feedback following the publication of these first outputs and continue to advise on compliance with the Code. We look forward to continuing to work with NRS.

Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation said:

“The Census is one of the most important sources of data and statistics, informing decisions about almost every aspect of life. Through this designation decision, we are recognising NRS’s dedication to meet the needs of users and follow the standards of the Code of Practice for Statistics.

The amount of work undertaken by the NRS team to reach this point is impressive and I am pleased to see these important estimates being released. We will continue to engage with users and NRS to consider any new insights that emerge.”

Janet Egdell, National Records of Scotland Chief Executive, said:

Census information is hugely important as it provides a wide range of unique data used by government, businesses and charities to plan vital public services and infrastructure.

National Statistics designation reflects the high quality, good practice and comprehensiveness of Scotland’s Census statistics and the methodology behind it, which has been guided by world leading experts through the International Steering Group.

We have greatly valued the scrutiny from leading academics and statisticians through OSR throughout the development of these census statistics.”


Additional Information

To be designated as National Statistics, the OSR must assess and judge that the official statistics comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics. That means the statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value.


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This is the first of many releases planned for the coming years – more information on NRS’ release plans can be found here.