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Census Day on 21st March is a great opportunity...

05 March 2021

The Census only happens once every 10 years, it looks at who we are and how we live and provides vital information about us, our society and our future needs. The information it collects is used by central government to determine how services, including health and education, are planned and funded in your local area.

This year the Census is “digital first” meaning households in Northern Ireland will be able to complete it online.  Census 2021 is also the first time that people will be able to complete their form in Ulster-Scots.  Simply start the census as normal but when asked which language you would like to complete in, select “Ulster-Scots/Ulstèr-Scotch”. It's that easy. There will also be a toggle switch to move between “Ulstèr-Scotch” and “English” at any time during the census in case you need a question translated.

The Census asks about Identity which can be a complex issue; we might have a British / Irish / Northern Irish national identity, but also have an Ulster-Scots cultural identity. The good news is that the Census allows us to record both.  When you record your national identity (Qu 11) first tick all boxes which apply e.g. British, Northern Irish etc. but also use the “other” box to write in that you are Ulster-Scots.

 You will also be asked about language (Qu 18). If you have a wheen o wurds in Ulster-Scots (which most of us do), you can use this question to record that you have some ability in Ulster-Scots e.g. can speak & understand and use it every day. You can test your Ulster-Scots knowledge to see how many of these Ulster-Scots words and phrases you recognise and use by simply clicking Ulster-Scots Agency Wheen o Wurds quiz.


There are so many reasons to make sure Ulster-Scots is represented in your census return.  If you want to see your Ulster-Scots cultural identity recognised and respected; if you want to ensure the Ulster-Scots community continues to be properly resourced and represented; if you want your Ulster-Scots identity recorded in your family history, if you want your cultural identity reflected in what your children and grandchildren learn in school, say it in the Census on 21st March!