Scotland's Census 2022

Sunday 20th March is Scotland’s Census Day and for the first time in its 180-year history, a question on military service will be included.


This comes after a five-year long campaign by Poppyscotland and the Royal British Legion and it will transform the way in which services for the Armed Forces community are shaped and delivered in the years ahead. We are calling on all veterans to complete the Census and, in particular, tick “yes” to the veterans question. 


Although census day is 20th March, you have until 31st May to fill the form in.


5 reasons to complete the census


  1. It’s a legal requirement! Ok, that seems pretty obvious but it is in everyone’s interest to complete the Census as so many of the things we rely on every day are shaped by the data that comes from this only once every ten years.
  2. Ensure Armed Forces Covenant compliance. By completing the veterans question we’ll all be able to hold national and local governments to account for upholding their commitments to the Armed Forces Covenant.
  3. Evidence for support. We will be able to identify areas where the Armed Forces community face disadvantage that are currently hidden from sight, and have the evidence to campaign for this to be addressed.
  4. Better services. Knowing how the Armed Forces community is spread geographically will allow for better targeting of services, whether statutory or by charities like Poppyscotland.
  5. It's confidential. Your personal information is completely secure. You cannot be identified in the statistics published from the Census and all personal information provided is protected by law.


For more information on the veterans' question and why it's important, check out our FAQs below.

#CountThemIn campaign

Thank you to everyone who supported our #CountThemIn campaign. Hundreds of topics for new questions are put forward each time the Census questionnaire is compiled but very few are added. The veterans question was one of only three new questions added for 2022, so the significance of our #CountThemIn campaign cannot be overstated.


Veterans' question FAQs

What is the veterans' question and how should I answer it?

The question itself is as follows:

Q: Have you previously served in the UK Armed Forces?


And here's how you should answer:

  • No: if you are currently serving
  • Yes: if you have previously served in Regular Armed Forces
  • Yes: if you have previously served in Reserve Armed Forces
 It is really important to us that veterans, even those who have served a single day in the forces, should tick yes.


What's the background to asking for a veterans' question in the census?

For the first time in the history of the Census, there will be a question on service in the Armed Forces following a campaign led by ourselves and the Royal British Legion.


It has been estimated that there are 2.4 million veterans currently living in Great Britain, who make up part of a wider ex-Service community which includes their spouses, partners, dependent children and widow(er)s. However, little is currently known about the exact numbers, location and needs of this significant group.


The census will provide public bodies, local authorities, and charities with valuable information to ensure they are able to deliver the best services they can for our Armed Forces community.

Why is it important to identify veterans in the census?

We will analyse and interrogate the data from the veterans’ question, alongside wider data arising from the census to shape our future welfare provision. 

We want to understand more about the issues affecting the Armed Forces community, especially when this differs from the rest of the population.  

Data from the census will also enable us to undertake a mapping exercise so we can accurately plot where the Armed Forces community are clustered. In doing so we will then be able to direct our resources in an even more effective and efficient way in the future.

What are the benefits of using the data?

By including a veterans question in the census, public bodies and charities will be much better placed to provide the services that are needed, where they are needed to members of our Armed Forces community.

Together with the Royal British Legion, we published a Household Survey in 2015. Although it was the largest of its kind ever undertaken, this was produced from a representative sample. Being able to base future decisions on the much larger data set produced by the census would vastly enhance our understanding, our ability to predict future needs and enable us to direct our charitable resources where they will have the greatest impact.

Our campaigning

We campaign on various topics that are important to the Armed Forces community, ensuring their voice is heard. 
Find out more
Watch how easy it is to fill in the online census form

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