National Records of Scotland

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2001 Census Ethnicity Reports - Report on Coding of Other Ethnic Group

2001 Census Ethnicity Reports - Report on Coding of Other Ethnic Group

1. Introduction

The question on ethnicity for the 2001 Census (Appendix A) divided answer categories into five sections. Form-fillers were asked first to select a Section and then to tick a box within that section. There were 14 tick boxes altogether. For one tick box in each Section, the form-filler was also asked to write some descriptive text. While most entries conformed to the instruction on the form, some form-fillers ticked more than one box or entered text in more than one section, or combinations of both. Section E was headed ‘Other ethnic background’ and contained a single tick box with the instruction ‘Any other background, please write in’ and a write-in box for the form-filler’s text.

In output, one of the main classifications of ethnicity contained 14 classes. Generally speaking, each category in this classification corresponded to a tick box on the form. The main exception was the category ‘Other ethnic group’ containing 9,571 persons. Some 40 percent of these had made an entry in Section E of the form, 43 percent in Section C, 7 percent had made entries in one of Sections A, B or D, and the remaining 11 percent had made entries in more than one section. A further analysis of this group is given in this note which is set out as:

  • an outline of the detailed coding done for ethnicity and how this was used for output (section 2 and Appendix B);

  • an account of the ‘tick and text’ data generated during the capture of data on the Census form (section 3);

  • a description of how text data was distilled into ethnicity descriptors and how these descriptors were used to confirm (or otherwise) assignment of a person to the category ‘Other ethnic group’ (section 4);

  • some findings (section 5);  and

  • appendices A to D showing the Census question (Appendix A), output codes (Appendix B), numbers in the ‘Other ethnic group’ in each detailed output code in the output and tick and text databases (Appendix C) and the descriptors distilled from text data (Appendix D).