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SINCE the Census of 1851 was taken, an Act has been in operation for a period of about 6 years whereby all the Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Scotland are entered on Public Registers. To the Registrar-General tinder that Act the whole arrangements for taking the Census of Scotland in 1861 were entrusted, and the machinery employed for this purpose was of course mainly that employed in the Registration of the Births, Deaths, and Marriages, assisted by Enumerators appointed under them, and superintended by the Sheriffs in Counties and by the Chief Magistrates in Burghs.

The 1001 local Registrars required the assistance of 8075 Enumerators, who distributed the Schedules among the people and collected them on the 8th April. The particulars were subsequently copied from these Schedules into Books by the Enumerators, and handed to the local Registrars, who, after carefully revising the same, prepared a Summary of the facts required to be registered. This Summary, together with all these Books, Schedules, &c., in accordance with the provisions of the Statute, were transmitted by the Registrar to the Sheriffs in Counties, and to the Chief Magistrates in Burghs, on or before the 30th April, who, after verifying their correctness, forwarded them to the Registrar-General on or before the 1st of June.

From the Summaries so prepared the following Tables have been chiefly compiled; and though the numbers represent the results of the Census, on the authority of the local officers, and previous to that revisal which is now in progress at the Central Office, they may be considered as sufficiently accurate for all useful purposes, and not far from the truth.

Two of the Columns, however, must be excepted from these remarks, as it is feared, from what has been already discovered, that they do not perfectly fulfil the object for which the information was sought, viz., the Scholar Column , from the faulty wording of the Census Act itself, and the Vacant House Column, from the misunderstanding of many of the Enumerators as to what constituted an Uninhabited House. Thus, the Act directed that there should be entered in a separate column of the Householder's Schedule "whether any, and how many of such persons, being of the Age of from Five to Fifteen years, attended School during the week preceding." The object sought was to ascertain what number of children at that age were receiving instruction in the ordinary branches of education. The wording of the Act, however, has had the effect of striking off two large classes; 1st, all those who were absent for more than a week from sickness; and 2d, all those who could not attend School because the School was temporarily closed. It is the custom in some of the rural, but especially in the insular parishes, to close the Schools during the month of April, in consequence of the population being required for the necessary agricultural operations of the season; and the consequence is, that where the School was closed not only is no child entered in the "Scholar Column" as being at School, but we do not even possess the means of rectifying the omission, from the circumstance that, in most of these instances, it is not even mentioned under the "Occupation Column" whether the child is a scholar or not—a blank being opposite the name.

The Column enumerating the Vacant Houses must also be considered as not quite trustworthy, as it has been ascertained that many of the Enumerators have entered under that Column all the Blacksmiths' Shops, and the Rooms where Weavers work during the day; while several have, in addition to these, entered as Uninhabited Houses all Churches and Public Buildings within the boundaries of their enumeration District.

Greater delay has occurred in bringing out these preliminary Tables than was contemplated; first, from causes not foreseen in time relative to a sufficient staff of clerks at the Head Office; and secondly, from the returns having been taken up for the Registration Counties, which differ somewhat from the Civil Counties, and required the necessary corrections to be made in order that the Tables might give a distinct idea of the progress of the population in each County from the year 1801, when the first Census of Scotland was taken.

The saving of money, in taking advantage of the Registration machinery, has been very great if we compare the expenses of 1851 with those of 1861. In 1861 the taking the Census of Scotland cost the country L.18,464, 0s. 2d., being no less than L.7,777, 16s. 1d. less than the sum spent on the Census of Scotland in 1851.

Table I. Comprises the numbers of the Population, of the Families, and of the Children from 5 to 15 years of age who were attending School on the week previous to the 8th April, of the Houses, and of the Rooms with Windows, in Scotland, and in its several Divisions and Civil Counties, on the 8th April 1861. The numbers include the Military in Barracks and the Seamen on board vessels in the Harbours and Creeks on the night of the 7th April. As the Returns from the Island of St Kilda have not yet been received, they are not included in the above; but as the Population there may be estimated at about 100, the total Population of Scotland, on the 8th April 1861, would amount to 3,061,351 persons.

Table II. Exhibits the same facts for Scotland in its Registration Divisions and Registration Counties.

Table III. Is prepared with the view of shewing the comparative increase or decrease in the number of Houses and in the Population in 1851 and 1861; and gives the number of the Population (distinguishing the Sexes), as well as that of the Houses which were inhabited, were vacant, or were building, in 1851 and 1861, in each of the Civil Counties of Scotland.

Table IV. Shews the numbers of the Population (distinguishing the Sexes), in each of the Civil Counties of Scotland at the taking of each Census, from 1801 to 1861. It is to be remembered, however, that the Army at home was first included in the returns for 1841, and that the number of Seamen in vessels in the Harbours, Creeks, &c., was first included in 1851. Those of 1861, of course, contain both.

Table V. Is framed from Table IV., and shews the increase or decrease of the Population in each Civil County, and in all Scotland, in the intervals between the taking of each several Census, from 1801 to 1861.

Table V Is based on the numbers given in Table V., and shews the rates of increase or decrease in the respective Sexes, and in the whole Population of Scotland, and in each of it Civil Counties, in Decennial periods, from 1801 to 1861.

Table VII. Gives the numbers of the Population, of the Families, of the Children from5 to 15 years of age who were attending School on the week previous to the taking of the Census, of the Houses, and of the Rooms with Windows, in the Parliamentary Burghs of Scotland, on the 8th April 1861.

Table VIII. Shews the number of Emigrants from Great Britain during each year, from 1851 to 1860, distinguishing the birth-place of the Emigrants so far as ascertained. The place of Birth of the Emigrants was only inquired into from 1853, and every year a large number emigrate whose birth-place is not ascertained. If we take these Emigrants whose native origin was not ascertained, and distribute them over the various classes, and make the necessary correction for the periods of the year when the Census was taken in 1851 and 1861, then the Emigrants of Scottish origin during the ten years between the Census of 1851 and 1861, would amount to about 183,627 persons.

  W. PITT DUNDAS, Registrar-General.

Assistant to the Registrar-General in the matter of
the Census.
Census Office, Register House,
Edinburgh, July 22, 1861.  

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