Scottish household survey 2019: key findings

An infographic summary of the key findings from the 2019 edition of the Scottish Household Survey, a continuous survey running since 1999 based on a sample of the general population in private residences in Scotland.

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The SHS is Scotland’s largest random pre-selected survey and is at the centre of Scotland’s evidence based approach to policy-making.

Since 1999, it has collected information on what Scottish households look like, how they are managing and what the population in Scotland thinks about a range of topics.

Large sample sizes allow researchers to measure differences related to age, gender, location and wealth, so we can understand and address inequality both nationally and locally.

There is a particular interest in data on communities, local services, neighbourhoods, volunteering, recycling and access to outdoors and green space.

The Scottish Household Survey gives people in Scotland the chance to share their views and experiences on a range of issues and help shape public services locally and in Scotland as a whole.

SHS Data is not only used by the government, but also used by charities and academics. Anyone can access and use the survey data online in our new Data Explorer!

Among other things, SHS data is used for:

  • The National Performance Framework, measuring progress towards Scotland’s National Outcomes.
  • Local Authority Performance Measurements, specifically in developing local Single Outcome Agreements, and to understand and improve local needs and circumstances.
  • Housing policy, as it is used to determine the size of the Private Rented Sector, allocate affordable housing funding and to inform housing plans.
  • Fuel Poverty Policy, as it is the only nationally representative source of data on fuel poverty, energy efficiency, and house conditions.
  • Climate Change Policy, as Transport and Housing Energy Efficiency data are crucial for monitoring carbon emissions, as well as analysing public attitudes on climate change.

The SHS asks these questions to a sample of the population living in Scotland.

This group of people should represent the people of Scotland so that we can use our data to talk about the country as a whole.

The selection of households is random, meaning that every household within each council has an equal chance of getting selected.

Interviewers make every attempt to contact these households, so that accurate comparisons can be reported and so that we get robust results.

If they agree to take part, adults in the household will be interviewed in a face-to-face interview.

63% of people asked agreed to take part in the survey

10,580 households participated in the household section of the interview

9,780 adults participated in the random adult section of the interview

Careful consideration is given to how many households should be asked each question, and how often! The information needs to be useful, but the interview should not be a burden.

Given the range of topics that the SHS covers and our interest in long-term changes, not every adult or household is asked every question.

Some questions, including a set of Core Questions which are asked in several major surveys in Scotland, are asked of everyone every year.

However, other questions are only asked to a smaller part of the sample. Other questions are asked every second year, and might only be asked to a smaller group when included.

This means that the key findings report might include different information from year to year.



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