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Scotland's Census – Count Carers In!

Census 2022 is being held on 20 March 2022 in Scotland. The National Records of Scotland (NRS) runs the Census in Scotland.  Your details are protected by law and information published is always anonymous.

The census is taking place on 20 March 2022 and we want to ensure that everyone looking after someone else identifies as an unpaid carer when completing their form. This is hugely important because the census provides a vital opportunity for the number of carers, and their caring situations, to be officially recognised and better understood.

Census 2022 will inform decisions on services that shape our communities, such as healthcare, education and transport, and it also provides a more accurate and up to date figure for the number of carers in Scotland. Census findings are used widely by national and local government and many others – including national and local carers organisations.

The opportunity to complete the census only comes around once every 10 years in Scotland these figures will provide a very important update.

There is a specific question (question 12 in Scotland) which asks whether you look after, or give help or support to someone else – and the number of hours per week that you care for

"Do you look after, or give any help or support to family members, friends, neighbours or others because of either: long-term physical / mental ill-health / disability; or problems related to old age?"

It is vital that all those providing unpaid care identify themselves as a carer in this year's census, by ticking ‘yes’ to question 12 and indicating the number of hours they care for.

How you can support our campaign

If you are an unpaid carer, make sure you tick yes to Question 12 in the census. And you can help by sharing information on social media asking other carers to do the same. See suggested tweets below:

  • I will be identifying as an unpaid carer when I complete #ScotlandsCensus2022 on 20 March, by ticking yes to question 12! If you look after someone, make sure you identify as a carer too! #CountCarersIn
  • As an unpaid carer for my [insert who you care for] I’ll be ticking yes to question 12 in #ScotlandsCensus2022 on 20 March, helping to ensure we have an accurate number for carers in this country. #CountCarersIn

If you are a local organisation and would like to promote our #CountCarersIn campaign to carers, below we outline some simple steps you can take:

  • Share info about identifying as a carer when completing the census on your website.
  • Include information about the census in your regular emails to unpaid carers.
  • Put out Tweets/Facebook posts regarding the census, in the run up to 20 March.
  • Include info about the census in any engagement sessions you hold with carers.

We have also created a campaign toolkit which includes suggested content for each of the above ideas. You can access the toolkit here.

Why is the Census important regarding unpaid carers?

National and local carers’ organisations rely on the census as a vitally important data source regarding unpaid carers. This is especially the case due to a lack of other means at national level of identifying carers systematically.

Including a question on carers in the census also provides lots of information about carers and their lives, including: 

  • The gender breakdown of unpaid carers.
  • That carers are less likely to be in work than non-carers.
  • That carers providing a lot of care have poorer health than non-carers.
  • The breadth and range of ethnicity of carers.
  • How old carers are and how much this varies in different areas.
  • That deprived areas are more likely to have higher numbers of carers.
  • Rural areas have more older carers.
  • Which people are more likely to be a carer, and their religious identity.

The census also informs decisions on services, such as healthcare, education, and transport, and it also provides a more accurate and up to date figure for the number of carers in Scotland.. This information is used by National and Local Government to make decisions about these services and the different levels of support needed in different areas. This information is also used by organisations like Carers Scotland and our fellow national carer organisations to campaign for greater rights and recognition for carers.

About Census 2022

Census 2022 will be the first digital-first census. You will receive information from the NRS about filling in the census, including how to order a paper questionnaire if you cannot complete it online.  Find out more here

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