Publication - Consultation paper

Scotland's Census 2021 Topic Consultation

Published: 8 Oct 2015
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781785447419

National Records of Scotland is planning for Scotland’s Census 2021. A lot can change in the 10 years between censuses. To help inform our planning, this consultation will seek information from users about their needs. This will help determine the topics to be included in the next census.

40 page PDF

761.7 kB

40 page PDF

761.7 kB

Contents
Scotland's Census 2021 Topic Consultation
4. Other topics under consideration for collection in the 2021 Census

40 page PDF

761.7 kB

4. Other topics under consideration for collection in the 2021 Census

4.1 Sexual orientation

Topic

Initial view

Collected in 2011?

Comment

Sexual orientation

Further information required - not asked in 2011

No

It is important that information is collected on sexual orientation. NRS needs to consider whether the Census is the most appropriate survey to do so, because of concerns about privacy, acceptability, accuracy and the effect on overall response rate. NRS require further information to understand user need for 2021.

Discrimination on the basis of someone's sexual orientation is unlawful as prescribed by the Equality Act 2010. The legislation covers areas including education, employment, the provision of goods and services to the public and the exercise of public functions. The Act also introduced a new public sector equality duty which came into force on 5 April 2011. The duty requires Government and public authorities to tackle discrimination and promote equal opportunities. The duty covers nine protected characteristics[6], including sexual orientation. Consultation with users for the 2011 Census indicated strong user need for information on sexual orientation, in order to provide a benchmark against which equality monitoring policies could be better assessed.

A question was not included in the 2011 Census because of concerns around individual privacy and the public acceptability of including a question in a compulsory household survey and the quality of the resulting data. In a small-scale postal survey carried in 2005, which included a question on sexual orientation, one in seven of the 31 per cent of households that responded did not provide useful data - either because they chose the "prefer not to answer" option or because they did not complete the question at all. This far outweighed the percentage of respondents who declared a non-heterosexual orientation.

In 2006 the Office for National Statistics ( ONS) initiated a project to develop and test a question to collect information on sexual orientation for use on social surveys, as a direct response to user needs for data on sexual orientation captured during topic consultation for the 2011 Census. All the work conducted by the ONS relating to this project, including question development, testing and guidance on using the question, can be found at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/measuring-equality/equality/sexual-identity-project/index.html.[7]

The development of questions for use in surveys and the well-established user need for information on sexual orientation has led to the Scottish Government including a question in the three major Scottish surveys - the Scottish Household Survey, the Scottish Health Survey and the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey. These surveys are interviewer-led.

It is important that the Scottish statistical system collects information on sexual orientation. NRS needs to consider whether the census is the most appropriate survey for doing so; there are concerns regarding privacy, acceptability, accuracy and the effect on overall response rate that need to be considered. NRS however anticipate a continuing strong user demand for this data, and so to assist in determining the best approach and to provide information which may shape a testing programme, further information is required to understand user need for 2021.

4.2 Income

Topic

Initial view

Collected in 2011?

Comment

Income

Further information required - not asked in 2011

No

A household income question was recommended for inclusion in the 2011 Census, but was removed by the Scottish Parliament to ensure that all questions to be asked were acceptable to the public. NRS needs to fully understand information requirements on income for 2021.

The strength of user need identified via consultation for a question on income, balanced against the pressure on space for individual questions, led to the decision to test and subsequently recommend a question on household income for the 2011 Census questionnaire in Scotland. In 2010, following concerns about personal privacy, the Scottish Parliament advised that the question should be removed to ensure that all the questions to be asked were acceptable to the public.

Respondents to previous consultations have cited many potential uses of income data and NRS expect a continuing strong user demand for information on income in 2021. To assist in determining the best approach to providing this information, further information is required by NRS to fully understand user need for 2021..

4.3 Basic demographics and household composition - Second address

Sub-topic

Initial view

Collected in 2011?

Comment

Second address

Further information required - asked elsewhere in the UK in 2011

No

Two questions on second address were asked by ONS for England & Wales in 2011. Further information is required to understand user need for 2021.

In an increasingly mobile age, more people have two or more homes and/or spend time between two or more addresses. The Beyond 2011 Consultation in 2013 indicated that it would be useful for housing and transport planning to know more about these second addresses and their effect on the population of local areas. This kind of information would also serve census operational requirements, to ensure that over or under enumeration is avoided (people who stay away from home for work, for example).

Two questions on second addresses were included on the England & Wales questionnaire in 2011. Due to competing demands on space and higher user demand for information on other new topics (long term health conditions and language, notably) the questions were not included in Scotland. Gathering information on other addresses where people spend time away from home would potentially improve the accuracy of the population estimates by identifying duplicate returns received from different locations and to inform coverage adjustment calculations. It could also improve the accuracy of outputs produced under different residence definitions; for example to provide a population base for estimates of the weekday population. The accuracy of travel to work and study data could also be improved. In combination with other census variables, second address data could allow better understanding of commuting patterns and journeys made to work or study and could potentially improve understanding of the increasingly complex living patterns of the Scottish population.

The initial view of NRS is that information on second addresses would be useful for operational purposes. Further information is required to understand user need for this information in 2021.

4.4 Housing and accommodation - number of bedrooms

Sub-topic

Initial view

Collected in 2011?

Comment

Number of bedrooms

Further information required - asked elsewhere in the UK in 2011

No

Not asked in Scotland in 2011. Counts of bedrooms provides information on overcrowding and under-occupation via the occupancy rating. Further information is required to understand whether there is user need for this information in 2021.

A question about the number of bedrooms was asked for the first time in the rest of the UK in 2011, but not in Scotland, due to higher user demand for other household questions and some concerns around definitional complexities. Information published by ONS indicates that the question about the number of bedrooms was answered well in 2011 and could provide information about household overcrowding and under-occupation that is perceived to be more useful than the equivalent using the number of rooms. Information about overcrowding and under-occupancy are used for policy purposes such as the allocation of affordable housing by local authorities. To ensure the most useful information is collected, NRS requires further information to understand user requirement for information on number of bedrooms for 2021.

4.5 Migration - type of migration

Sub-topic

Initial view

Collected in 2011?

Comment

Type of migration

Further information required - asked elsewhere in the UK in 2011

No

People who arrived in the UK in the year before 27 March 2011 were asked a question about their intended length of stay in the UK, in the 2011 census in England & Wales and Northern Ireland. Further information is required to understand user need for 2021.

A question on intended length of stay in the UK was included in the 2011 Census in England & Wales and Northern Ireland. Asking such a question would potentially allow NRS to differentiate type of migration (short or long term) and produce estimates of short-term migrants, as well as helping to define the 12-month usual residence output base. However, the question can be difficult for people to answer and this was reflected in the high non-response rate (14.5 per cent) as reported by ONS. User requirement for this information in Scotland for 2011 was limited, with support for collecting short-term migration statistics via other methods that would afford more timely updates, given the nature of short-term migration. There are also potentially other pieces of information, such as refugee/asylum status and reason for migration, that may be of interest to users.

NRS anticipates a strong user demand for a range of migration-related data in the future. Further information is therefore required by NRS, to establish user needs on this topic and to assist in determining the best approach to providing the information required.

4.6 Migration - Citizenship

Sub-topic

Initial view

Collected in 2011?

Comment

Citizenship

Further information required - asked elsewhere in the UK in 2011

No

A question on passports held was asked in England & Wales and Northern Ireland in 2011. Further information is required to understand user need for 2021.

Internationally, citizenship/nationality is a key dimension when considering both the stock and flow of migrants. It is a core topic in the European Union regulations for the provision of information to Eurostat, which requires information on the citizenship of all usual residents. The 2011 Census in England and Wales included, for the first time, a question on passports held (as a proxy question for citizenship that respondents could understand). The question was not included in Scotland, due primarily to lack of strong user requirement for the information and higher demand for other questions.

NRS anticipates a strong user demand for a range of migration-related data in the future. Further information is therefore required by NRS, to establish user needs on this topic and to assist in determining the best approach to providing the information required.

4.7 Labour force and socio-economic classification - Voluntary and unpaid work

Sub-topic

Initial view

Collected in 2011?

Comment

Voluntary and unpaid work

Further information required - asked elsewhere in UK in 2011

No

Changes to the ILO guidelines on participation in the labour force place more emphasis on volunteering and unpaid work. Further information is required to understand user need for 2021.

Since 2011, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has introduced new concepts about economic activity, which include placing more emphasis on whether or not people are paid for the work they do.

A question on voluntary work without pay was asked in 2011 Census in Northern Ireland. Insufficient space on the questionnaire however meant that it was not possible to collect details such as the type of voluntary work undertaken or the length of time spent volunteering. Although limited user support for gathering information on voluntary work in the census has previously been identified in Scotland, alternative sources, such as the Scottish Household Survey, may offer greater scope to explore the topic to the level of detail required.

In this context, NRS requires further information to understand user requirements for information about voluntary and unpaid work for 2021.


Contact

Email: Cecilia MacIntyre