Monthly Archives: December 2010

2011 – Shaping our future

Over the last 15 months we have charted 150 years of Scotland’s Registrar General’s responsibility for the country’s census. Just by dipping into each decade you can see how the nation has changed significantly in areas such as industry, technology, immigration and culture. Scotland’s Census is unique in its capacity to chart our history, inform […]

2001 – Devolution in Scotland

The 2001 Census in Scotland was the first to be approved by the devolved Scottish Parliament created in 1999, rather than by the Westminster Parliament. The Scottish Parliament, like its counterpart in London, insisted on an important change to the question set – the inclusion of a voluntary question about religion. This was the first […]

1991 – Ethnicity Question

There was one big change in the question set for 1991 – the inclusion of an ethnic group question in a British census for the first time. This followed careful testing to find a broadly-acceptable wording and a final trial in 1989 in Berwickshire, East Lothian and Edinburgh. It proved to be one of the […]

1981 – Black Gold

The discovery of oil in the North Sea resulted in a significant increase to the population of Scotland’s North East and Shetland Islands. This can be clearly seen if you look at the 1971 and 1981 census results. For example, the population of Shetland had fallen to nearly 17,000 by the mid 60’s, and the […]

1971 – Security Review

The plans for the 1971 Census were the most ambitious to date. The development of computer processing unlocked significant increases in the volume and detail of output. Because of public concern about the privacy of data held on computers, the British Computer Society (BCS) offered to carry out an independent review of IT arrangements shortly […]

1961 – Another first for the Census

The 1961 census was the first to use computers to count census information. The modern system used today to collate census information is a very intelligent computer which scans every page and automatically reads handwriting converting it into computer data, before sorting the information based on what it finds. However, in 1961 the process was […]

1951 – The first census in 20 years

Due to World War Two (WWII) there had been an interval of twenty years since the previous census in Scotland; a period which had seen significant legislative and social changes across the country. For the 1951 census, almost all the questions that had been asked in the 1921 and 1931 Censuses were included again, plus […]

1941 The Missing link

Preparations for taking the 1941 Census were interrupted by the outbreak of war on 3 September 1939 and the census never went ahead. The National Registration Act 1939, which set up a national register for the issue of identity cards, authorised the Registrars General to compile the register using the administrative machinery already being prepared […]

1931 – The ‘wireless’

In 1931, public broadcasts via the medium of the new-fangled ‘wireless’ were used to publicise the census. The importance of using the press in the 1921 Census to explain the purpose of the census had been recognised, but the development of radio broadcasting made it possible to give out, orally and nationally, a wide range […]

1921 – Men outnumbered.

On 19th June 1921, Scotland’s 13th Census was held – much later than the original planned date of 24th April due to extensive industrial unrest after the first world war. The effects of the war are apparent straight away when looking at the population of Scotland at this time. Following the war, the 1921 census […]