Scotland's People Annual Report: Results from 2011 Scottish Household Survey

A National Statistics publication for Scotland, providing reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics, behaviour and attitudes of Scottish households and adults across a number of topic areas including local government, neighbourhoods and transport.

Annex 2 Glossary

This Annex includes an list of terms used within the report. Definitions for those terms and, in some cases, further explanation of the term are provided.

Current economic situation

The household respondent is asked to select which of the following categories best describes the current situation of each member of the household:

  • Self-employed
  • Employed full-time
  • Employed part-time
  • Looking after the home or family
  • Permanently retired from work
  • Unemployed and seeking work
  • At school
  • In further/higher education
  • Government work or training scheme
  • Permanently sick or disabled
  • Unable to work because of short-term illness or injury
  • Pre-school/not yet at school
  • Other

SHS data on the economic situation of members of the household reflects the view of the respondent to the 'household' part of the interview, and so may not conform to official definitions of employment and unemployment, for example. The SHS cannot provide estimates of unemployment that are comparable to official statistics of unemployment.[99] Therefore, the SHS cannot be used as a source of unemployment rates or average earnings. Please see the Scottish Government Statistics website[100] for details of Scottish Government contacts who deal with unemployment rates and average earnings statistics.

Economic activity, qualifications and training

The SHS is not directly comparable with the Labour Force Survey (LFS) which is the official source of employment, qualifications and training data in the UK. Compared with the LFS, the SHS under-estimates the level of employment and over-estimates both unemployment and economic inactivity. This is due to the fact that current economic situation in the SHS is asked in a single question whereas in the LFS it is determined by a selection of other questions.

The SHS also underestimates the number of people with a qualification of some sort, as the LFS covers all possible levels of qualifications. The LFS is the preferred source of estimates on employment, qualifications and training as it uses internationally agreed definitions and is used for international comparisons including OECD indicators.

It should be noted that SHS estimates of working age adults historically were based on the traditional working age definition (males aged 16-64, females aged 16-59). From 2011, these have been replaced by estimates based on the population aged 16-64 to account for legislative changes in the state retirement age. Specifically the current female state pension age is changing dynamically to match the male state pension age. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) no longer publish rates using a working age definition, instead reports rates for all people aged 16 to 64.

Highest Level of qualification

The highest level of qualification has been classified as follows:

  • O Grade, Standard Grade or equivalent - Includes: O Grade, Standard Grade, GCSE, GCE O level, CSE, NQ Access 3 Cluster, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, Senior Certificate, GNVQ/ GSVQ Foundation or Intermediate, SVQ Level 1, SVQ Level 2, SCOTVEC/National Certificate Module, City and Guilds Craft, RSA Diploma or equivalent.
  • Higher, A Level or equivalent - Includes: Higher Grade, Advanced Higher, CSYS, A Level, AS Level, Advanced Senior Certificate. GNVQ/ GSVQ Advanced, SVQ Level 3, ONC, OND, SCOTVEC National Diploma, City and Guilds Advanced Craft, RSA Advanced Diploma or equivalent.
  • HNC/ HND or equivalent - Includes: HNC, HND, SVQ Level 4, RSA Higher Diploma or equivalent
  • Degree, Professional qualification - Includes: First degree, Higher degree, SVQ Level 5, Professional qualifications e.g. teaching, accountancy
  • Other qualification
  • No qualifications
  • Qualifications not known

Please see the Scottish Government Statistics website[101] for details of Scottish Government contacts who deal with economic activity, qualifications and training statistics.

Household Economic Situation

Household economic situation refers to economic situation of the highest income householder (HIH) and/or their spouse or partner. The variable is derived from the question that asks about the economic activity of members of the household. Household economic situation variable includes the following categories:

  • Single working adult
  • Non-working single
  • Working couple
  • Couple, one works
  • Couple, neither work

As mentioned previously (see Current Economic Situation), SHS data on the economic situation of the household reflects the view of the respondent to the 'household' part of the interview, and so may not conform to official definitions of employment and unemployment, for example.

Household income

The term net annual household income refers to income (i.e. after taxation and other deductions) from employment, benefits and other sources that is brought into the household by the highest income householder and/or their spouse or partner. This includes any contribution to household finances made by other household members (e.g. dig money).

The definition is not the same as that used by other Government surveys such as the Family Resources Survey. These measure the income of all household members. Income data from the SHS should not, therefore, be compared with other sources without careful consideration of the methods used in compiling the data.[102] The SHS is not designed to provide reliable statistics on average income or average earnings. The current income information collected through the SHS is only intended to provide estimates by income band. The SHS asks for income only for use as a 'background' variable when analysing other topics, or for selecting the data for particular sub-groups of the population (such as the low paid) for further analysis.[103]

Household Members

For the purposes of the SHS, a household is defined as one person, or a group of people, living in accommodation as their only or main residence and either sharing at least one meal a day or sharing the living accommodation.

The respondent for the first part of the interview must be the household reference person, a person in whose name the accommodation is owned or rented or who is otherwise responsible for the accommodation.

In households that have joint householders, the household reference person is defined as the highest income householder (HIH), that is, the person with the highest income. If householders have exactly the same income, the older is taken as the household reference person.

Adult is used to refer to those aged 16 and over (except where otherwise stated). Children are aged under 16 years.

References to working age population throughout the publication refer to the working age definition as discussed in the economic activity, qualifications and training section in the Glossary.

In each household, one of the eligible adult members of the household is randomly selected to take part in the second half of the interview. Eligible adults are adult household members who have not been living apart from the household continuously for the previous six months. This might include adults working away from home, in the Armed Forces or in prison. The person selected is referred to as the random adult. The household respondent is automatically the random adult in one-adult households and may be the same as the household respondent in households with more than one adult.

Household type

The SHS uses eight household types defined as follows:

  • A single adult household contains one adult of working age and no children.
  • A single parent household contains one adult of any age and one or more children.
  • A single pensioner household contains one adult of pensionable age and no children. Pensionable age is 60 for women and 65 for men.
  • A small family household contains two adults of any age and one or two children.
  • An older smaller household contains one adult of working age and one of pensionable age and no children, or two adults of pensionable age and no children.
  • A large adult household contains three or more adults and no children.
  • A small adult household contains two adults of working age and no children.
  • A large family household contains two adults of any age and three or more children, or three or more adults of any age and one or more children.

Housing tenure

The SHS collects information on the ways in which households occupy their accommodation and from which organisation or individual their accommodation is rented, where this is the case. These are combined into a housing tenure variable, which is shown in the annual report broken down into four categories, namely:

  • owner occupied, which includes households who own outright and those buying with a mortgage or loan.
  • the social rented sector, which includes households renting from a local authority and all households renting from a Housing Association or Co-operative.
  • the private rented sector, which includes households renting from an individual private landlord.
  • other tenure, which includes any other category of tenure such as living rent free.

Income imputation

While in general the level of missing data throughout the SHS is minimal, one section of the questionnaire is substantially affected by missing information. In the section on household income, approximately one-in-three of respondents either refuse to answer the questions or are unable to provide information that is sufficiently reliable to report, for example, because there are no details of the level of income received for one or more components of their income.

Statistical analysis of data gathered in the survey on the characteristics of households where income is available, allows income data to be imputed for households where income data is missing. Income imputation is a process whereby complete information given by 'similar' households is used for respondents that have missing income information. Income is collected as a variety of different components, such as income from employment, benefits and other sources, which are summed to create total net household income. Income was imputed for each component using either Hot Deck imputation, where the sample is divided into subgroups based on relevant characteristics, or Predictive Mean, where a statistical model is constructed and the value is predicted using this model. After imputation, income data is unavailable for between 3%-4% of households. Please contact the SHS project team if you would like further information on the imputation process.

Long-standing limiting illness, health problem or disability

The question 'Could I just check, do you have any long-standing illness, health problem or disability that limits your daily activities or the kind of work you can do? By disability as opposed to ill-health, I mean a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.' was asked of the random adult respondent to establish the prevalence of long-term illness among the adult population.[104] The respondent's own assessment of what constitutes a long-standing illness, health problem or disability was used rather than a medical assessment of illness.

It should be noted that that this data is not directly comparable to reports relating to the period 1999-2002. During this period, the SHS Annual Reports used data from the household respondent about each household member. From 2003, the survey results were extracted from the question asked to the random adult directly.

Marital status

The random adult is asked to confirm their marital status using the following categories:

  • Single, that is, never married or never formed a legally recognised same sex civil partnership
  • Married and living with husband/wife
  • A civil partner in a legally recognised same sex civil partnership
  • Married and separated from husband/wife
  • In a legally recognised same sex civil partnership and separated from your civil partner
  • Divorced
  • Formerly a civil partner, the same sex civil partnership now legally dissolved
  • Widowed
  • A surviving same sex civil partner: your partner having since died

Where these have been used in the report to analyse results, these categories have been combined as:

  • Single/never been married
  • Cohabiting/living together
  • Married/civil partnership
  • Separated/divorced/dissolved civil partnership
  • Widowed/bereaved civil partner

Participation, Attendance and engagement at Cultural Events

Cultural engagement is defined as those adults who have either participated in a cultural activity or who have attended at least one type of cultural place in the previous 12 months.

Attendance at "a cultural event or place of culture" can cover any one of the following:

  • Film at cinema or other venue
  • Exhibition or collection of art, photography or sculpture
  • Craft exhibition
  • Event connected with books or writing
  • Street arts (art in everyday surroundings like parks, streets or shopping centre) or circus (not animals)
  • Culturally specific festival (mela/Feis)
  • Play, drama other theatrical performance (musical / pantomime)
  • Opera /operetta/ classical music performance
  • Other live music event eg. jazz event
  • Ballet / contemporary dance / other live dance event e.g. multi cultural
  • Library (any type of library, e.g. public / mobile / online)
  • Archive or records office
  • Museum
  • Gallery
  • Place of historical or archaeological interest
  • None

Participation in "any cultural activity" means that people do at least one activity from the available list asked of respondents in the survey (rather than each and every cultural activity). The activities are listed as follows:

  • Dance
  • Played a musical instrument or written music
  • Rehearsed, performed or sang in front of audience such as a play or choir
  • Painting, drawing, printmaking or sculpture
  • Photography as an artistic activity
  • Made films or videos as an artistic activity
  • Used a computer to create original artworks or animation
  • Crafts such as textile, wood, pottery, etc.
  • Read for pleasure (not newspapers, magazines or comics)
  • Written any stories, books, plays or poetry
  • Other cultural activity
  • None

Positive and Negative aspects of neighbourhood

Respondents to the SHS are asked spontaneously to mention any aspects of their neighbourhood, if any, they particularly like. Their answers are coded using a list comprised of 31 'likes' and 34 'dislikes'. These positive and negative aspects have been grouped in the analysis as follows:

Positive aspects:

  • Pleasant environment - Includes: Area well maintained; Safe/slow traffic; Clean/tidy place to live; No pollution/fresh air; Good quality houses/investment potential; Pace of life/quality of life; Nicely landscaped/open spaces; Convenient shop/other amenities; Good outlook/view; Like house; Like area/living here; Privacy; Rural/green/countryside/seaside; No/little traffic.
  • Safe environment - Includes: Safety, security or accessibility measures ( CCTV, warden, concierge etc); Safe area/low crime.
  • Good amenities - Includes: Friendly people; Good local shops; Good local leisure facilities; Good local schools; Good facilities for young people.
  • Sense of community/friendly people - Includes: Quiet/peaceful; Good neighbours; Family/friends here; Community spirit.
  • Other - Includes: Accessible/good location/handy; Always lived here/been here a long time; Affordable/prices/sell well.

Negative aspects:

  • Unpleasant environment - Includes: Area poorly maintained/run down; Lack of privacy; Problems with road/pavements/drainage; Pollutions/smells/problem with industry; Inadequate street lighting; Poor outlook/view; Problems with dogs; Vandalism and graffiti; Environmental noise; Parking problems; Too much traffic; Litter/rubbish; Property/gardens in poor condition.
  • Unsafe environment - Includes: Unsafe area/crime; Lack of policing.
  • Poor amenities - Includes: Lack of amenities (doctor, bank post office, etc.); Poor local shops; Poor local leisure facilities; Poor local schools; Nowhere for children to play.
  • No sense of community/Problem residents/substance abuse - Includes: Bad reputation, 'rough' area, problem residents moving in; Problems with neighbours; Drug abuse and dealing; Alcohol abuse; Young people hanging about/nothing for young people to do.
  • Other - Includes: No jobs/investment, poverty; Environment - weather, hills, flooding etc; Too much being built; Too expensive; Too far from the town/city/shops.

Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)[105] identifies the most deprived areas across Scotland. It is based on 38 indicators across seven individual domains, namely: income, employment, health, education, skills and training, housing, geographic access and crime.

SIMD is derived at data zone level, enabling small area concentrations of deprivation to be identified. The data zones are ranked from most deprived (1) to least deprived (6,505) on the overall SIMD and on each of the individual domains. The result is a comprehensive picture of relative area deprivation across Scotland.

Table A 2.1: Number of households by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

2011 data

  Unweighted Frequency Weighted Frequency Weighted Percent
1 - 10% most deprived 1,352 1,439 10.0
2 1,346 1,436 10.0
3 1,461 1,535 10.7
4 1,611 1,532 10.7
5 1,569 1,499 10.5
6 1,524 1,442 10.1
7 1,351 1,218 8.5
8 1,586 1,590 11.1
9 1,322 1,362 9.5
10 - 10% least deprived 1,223 1,289 9.0
Total 14,345 14,345 100

The classificatory variable used in the analysis contained in the report is based on the 2009 version of SIMD. In the tables, the data zones are grouped as the 15% most deprived data zones and the rest of Scotland. Occasionally deciles (from the 10% most deprived data zones to 10% least deprived)[106] or quintiles (from the 20% most to the 20% least deprived data zones)[107] are used.

Self-identified sexual orientation

The question on self-identified sexual orientation, presented in Chapter 2, was introduced to the SHS in 2011 to provide statistics to underpin the equality monitoring responsibilities of public sector organisations and to assess the disadvantage or relative discrimination experienced by the lesbian, gay and bisexual population.  Despite this positive step in collecting such information, it is felt that the figures are likely to under-report the percentage of lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) people within society due to a number of reasons, including the following. 

  • Asking about sexual orientation/identity is a new development in national surveys and such questions can be seen as intrusive and personal.
  • There is still significant prejudice and discrimination against LGB people in society.  In a context where some LGB people will not have told friends and family about their sexual identity, there is a real question about whether LGB people generally would want to be open with an interviewer.
  • The default option for being uncertain about one's sexual orientation may be to respond 'straight/heterosexual' rather than to say 'Don't know / not sure'.
  • Particular LGB people are still less likely to be open where they belong to groups or communities where an LGB identity is less acceptable.

Despite the uncertainties of the data, it does make sense to collect statistics on sexual orientation, to start to make this a more standard element within data collection. This does not mean that data will necessarily become reliable over the short term, but they may still be able to offer useful insights into the experience of some LGB people in particular areas of policy interest. The Scottish Government is looking at how it can improve its data collection on these issues going forward.

Socio-economic classification (NS-SEC)

National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC)[108] is an occupationally-based classification which, in line with all official statistics and surveys, is used in the SHS. The eight-fold analytic version of NS-SEC has been used.

Respondents' occupations and details of their employment status (whether an employer, self-employed or employee; whether a supervisor; number of employees at the workplace) have been used to create the following classifications:

  • Higher managerial and professional occupations.
  • Lower managerial and professional occupations.
  • Intermediate occupations.
  • Small employers and own account workers.
  • Lower supervisory and technical occupations.
  • Semi-routine occupations.
  • Routine occupations.

Urban Rural Classification

The Scottish Government six-fold urban/rural classification of Scotland is used throughout this report. This classification is based on settlement size and remoteness (measured by drive times) allowing more detailed geographical analysis to be conducted on a larger sample size. The classification being used in this report is the 2009-2010 version as there were delays in the 2011-2012 version being finalised which meant it could not be made available in time to be used in this reports analyses.[109]

The areas in which respondents live have been classified as follows:

  • Large urban areas - settlements of over 125,000 people.
  • Other urban areas - settlements of 10,000 to 125,000 people.
  • Accessible small towns - settlements of between 3,000 and 10,000 people and within 30 minutes drive of a settlement of 10,000 or more.
  • Remote small towns - settlements of between 3,000 and 10,000 people and with a drive time of over 30 minutes to a settlement of 10,000 or more.
  • Accessible rural - settlements of less than 3,000 people and within 30 minutes drive of a settlement of 10,000 or more.
  • Remote rural - settlements of less than 3,000 people with a drive time of more than 30 minutes to a settlement of 10,000 or more.

Table A 2.2 shows the percentage of households in each area type.

Table A 2.2: Number of households by Scottish Government 2009-2010 Urban Rural Classification

2011 data

  Unweighted Frequency Weighted Frequency Weighted Percent
Large urban areas 5,166 5,811 40.5
Other urban areas 4,318 4,308 30.0
Small accessible towns 1,231 1,237 8.6
Small remote towns 775 589 4.1
Accessible rural 1,550 1,517 10.6
Remote rural 1,316 894 6.2
Total 14,356 14,356 100


This section of the questionnaire was revised for the 2006 survey in order to gather greater information on individuals' experience of volunteering and barriers that may prevent them from participation. Respondents were asked to give a 'yes' or 'no' response to a question on whether they had given up any time to help clubs, charities, campaigns or organisations in the last 12 months. This question was followed up by a question asked of those who said no to the first, which gave a list of types of groups and organisations and asked for which, if any, the respondent had undertaken any work or activities on a voluntary basis. The list of options was revised substantially in 2007. The third question asked if there were any other types of organisations not on the list for which respondents had given up their time. Respondents who did not answer 'yes' to the first question, or who answered 'none' to the first question but 'yes' to the second or third question were classed as having taken part in voluntary activities.

It should be noted that the main volunteering questions are only asked of half the sample, whilst follow up questions such as what might encourage people to volunteer in the future are asked of one quarter of the sample. As such analyses on volunteering can be based on smaller sample sizes and hence be affected by wider confidence intervals.

Youth Activities

The Scottish Government is interested in the extent to which young adults and children are involved in a range of activities. Those households for which there is someone aged between 8 and 21 are asked a series of questions within the SHS on whether they take part in a series of activities regularly. These activities are:

  • Any music or drama activities such as playing in a band or a theatre group;
  • Any other arts activities such as a photography or art club including classes;
  • Any sports or sporting activity whether played competitively or not;
  • Any other outdoor activities such as walking, angling, bird-watching, etc;
  • Any other groups or clubs such as a youth club or youth group, scouts, chess club, bridge club, etc;
  • Representing young people's views or involvement in youth politics (e.g. Youth Forum or Dialogue Youth);
  • Mentoring or peer education; and,
  • None.


Email: Nic Krzyzanowski

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