Notes on tables
All of the tables and charts in this publication, including local authority breakdowns and historical data, are available in electronic format at:
The statistics included in this publication are based on administrative data collected by local authorities in the course of carrying out their homelessness activities. This data is collected from local authorities and quality assured by the Scottish Government on a quarterly basis. Details about the data we collect, our quality assurance process, and how we engage with users to improve our statistics are outlined in our quality assurance statement.
The rates of homeless households and households in temporary accommodation per 100,000 population were calculated using mid-2021 population estimates produced by National Records of Scotland.
Updates to previous statistics
The data we use in this publication is collected from local authorities on an quarterly basis. As a result of this figures are updated on an ongoing basis and may differ from those previously published. This may be a result of delays in some cases being reported to the Scottish Government due to IT issues, quality assurance processes and delayed entry of data – particularly at the end of the financial year.
For example, this publication estimates that 34,286 homeless applications were made in 2020/21, but the previous ‘Homelessness in Scotland: 2020 to 2021’ publication gave a figure of 33,792. This is a difference of 494 applications, or approximately 1%. A table comparing the annual number of applications is included in the tables document accompanying this publication.
Information on the characteristics of the main applicant / household are gathered and recorded as part of the application stage of a homelessness case. This information is linked to the temporary accommodation placements associated with that household to enable reporting by characteristic for temporary accommodation. To note, it is not possible to do the same for the aggregate snapshot temporary accommodation data.
Comparative data for the Scottish population was taken from mid-2021 population estimates produced by National Records of Scotland.
Data for household types was taken from the Scottish Household Survey 2019.
Data for ethnicity was taken from the Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2019.
Known data quality issues
- Not all temporary accommodation placements have an associated homelessness application, however, this accounts for a very small proportion only (1%).
- There are a small number of temporary accommodation cases on the Scottish Government temporary accommodation placement database that are recorded as open but are linked to homelessness applications that we know to be closed. This occurs when a local authority fails to provide an update for these cases after the placement is closed. In these cases we have taken the approach of using the close date of the homelessness application as the exit date of the temporary accommodation placement. This may have the impact of inflating the length of time these households are recorded as using temporary accommodation.
- The figures relating to breaches of the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2020 should be treated with caution. This is due to: a) reporting anomalies and inconsistencies associated with differing interpretations of the legislation and issues discovered by further scrutiny of the data; b) uncertainty caused by the extension of legislation – extending breaches from households with only a pregnant women and/or child(ren) to all households – which were put in place quickly and without specific guidance; and c) exceptions put in place in response to COVID-19 which resulted in differing information about these captured across local authorities as well as uncertainty as to how they related to the extension of the legislation, which came about at the same time.
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