Capital to get early practice in next census

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SCOTLAND'S next census will be held three years from today but people living in the Capital will get an early practice.

The nationwide population count is scheduled to take place on Sunday March 27, 2011, it was announced today.

A practice will be carried out on 40,500 households in West Edinburgh next year to see how well the questionnaire arrangements work.

Participation in the rehearsal will be voluntary. Held every 10 years, the census measures people's health, housing, and education by asking householders to fill out a questionnaire.

The date – the earliest since 1801 – was selected to avoid clashing with the Easter holidays and campaigning for the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections.

Duncan Macniven, Registrar General for Scotland, said: "Although the census takes place once a decade, we all feel the effect of its findings daily through the planning and funding of public services – schools, hospitals, housing and roads."