Carers Census, Scotland, 2019-20 and 2020-21

Second publication of results from the Carers Census, covering unpaid carers being supported by local services across Scotland in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

This document is part of a collection

2. De-duplication of Carers Census Records

Unpaid carers can be supported by more than one local service and may therefore appear in the systems of more than one data provider. To ensure that carers are not being double counted as a result different organisations returning information on the same people, the figures presented in this report refer only to records that have been de-duplicated.

2.1 De-duplication process

First, instances where a data provider had returned more than one record for the same carer were removed. Then, records where month and year of birth, gender or data zone were missing were removed. This is because de-duplication is not accurate without all three of these indentifiers present. Of the records submitted, 19% were removed in 2019-20 due to missing identifiers and 17% were removed in 2020-21.

A de-duplication ID was then created for each remaining record by combining month and year of birth, data zone and gender. In cases where the de-duplication ID was not unique, further analysis of the data was carried out to identify where those records with the same de-duplication ID referred to different carers.

If multiple records submitted by a single data provider had the same de-duplication ID, but different record IDs (e.g. Carer 1 and Carer 2), it was assumed that these records referred to different carers. In cases where the same system was used by mulitple providers (e.g. Carer Centres run by VOCAL), a single record was taken for each carer.

As a result of the de-duplication process outlined above, 74% of the records submitted were included in the final data analysis in 2019-20 and 76% were included in 2020-21. This is compared to 68% of records submitted for the 2018-19 publication.

Table 1: Number of records included in analysis following de-duplication
Year Records submitted Unique number of carers (de-duplicated records) Duplicates and records unable to be de-duplicated
2019-20 44,190 32,690 11,490
2020-21 42,030 31,760 10,270

In future years, we intend to link the Carers Census data with the National Records of Scotland's population spine, which contains the personal identifiers of everyone in the Scottish Census, in order to obtain an accurate number of individual carers from the information submitted.

2.2 Analysis of duplicate records and records unable to be de-duplicated

The de-duplication process removed 11,490 records (26% of those submitted) from the dataset in 2019-20 and 10,270 (24%) in 2020-21. Further analysis was carried out on these records in order to ascertain if certain areas or groups of carers were impacted more than others.

Effects of de-duplication by local area

Some areas were more impacted than others by the de-duplication process. The table below shows the areas impacted the most by the de-duplication process.

Table 2: Areas with highest percentage of records removed as a result of de-duplication
Area % records removed (actual number) Main reason(s) for removal
Falkirk (2019-20) 46% (880) Multiple rows provided for some carers; multiple records where de-duplication ID was not unique; month and year of birth were missing for nearly 300 records
West Lothian (2020-21) 76% (250) Nearly all records removed were missing month and year of birth
North Lanarkshire (2020-21) 59% (3,670) Nearly all records removed were missing month and year of birth
Shetland Islands (2020-21) 34% (200) Multiple rows provided for some carers; multiple records where de-duplication ID was not unique; month and year of birth were missing for around 80 records

Note: Area is based on carers' residential postcode rather than location of data provider.

Effects on equality groups

Just over 10% of records were removed for each of the adult age groups (11% of records for 18 – 64 year olds and 14% of records for 65+ year olds) in both 2019-20 and 2020-21. This is slightly higher than the 0 – 18 year old age group, for which roughly 5% of records were removed during the de-duplication process (4% in 2019-20 and 5% in 2020-21). This means that the de-duplication process affected adult carer records slightly more than young carer records.

Similar proportions of records for male and female carers were removed in both years. In 2019-20, 24% of male carer records were removed compared to 26% of female carer records. In 2020-21, the proportions removed were 22% and 25% respectively.

There is slightly more variation across ethnic groups, though the proportion of records of each ethnic group removed varied between 17% and 29% in 2019-20, and between 18% and 26% in 2020-21 (not including the groups: 'Multiple ethnic groups', 'Not Known' and 'Not Disclosed'). The proportion of records removed for each deprivation decile varied between 20% and 26% in 2019-20 and 17% and 27% in 2020-21, but there was no clear trend.



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