Scottish Household Survey 2021 - telephone survey: key findings

A summary of the key findings from the Scottish Household Survey 2021 telephone survey.

This document is part of a collection


The Scottish Household Survey (SHS) is an annual survey of the general population in Scotland, carried out since 1999. It aims to collect reliable and up-to-date information on a range of topics, through a random sample of people in private residences. It is a voluntary and interviewer-led survey.

Typically, SHS respondents are interviewed face-to-face, in their homes. However, in March 2020 the fieldwork approach was altered in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This resulted in the majority of the 2020 survey fieldwork, and all of the 2021 survey fieldwork, being carried out using telephone interviewing. The 2022 survey returned to face-to-face interviewing.

This report presents key findings from the SHS 2021 telephone survey. Results for the Scottish Surveys Core Questions, Transport and Travel in Scotland and the Scottish House Condition Survey are reported separately.

As with the 2020 results, the results of the 2021 SHS telephone survey are published as experimental statistics. They are not directly comparable to SHS face-to-face survey results for previous years (2019 and earlier). Response rates for the telephone surveys were lower than usual, and there was a change in the profile of respondents (e.g. people with degree level qualifications were over-represented). There are also potential mode effects (respondents answering differently over the telephone than they would face-to-face). For more detail, please see the 2020 and 2021 methodology reports.

The results from the 2020 and 2021 telephone surveys are broadly comparable. However, 2020 data was collected in October 2020 and January-March of 2021, while the 2021 data was collected over the course of a whole year, between April 2021 and March 2022. So users should consider potential seasonal effects when making comparison between the two survey years.

Around 10,000 households were interviewed for the SHS 2021 telephone survey, compared to around 3,000 for the SHS 2020. This means that we can publish local authority level results for SHS 2021, which was not possible for SHS 2020.

Throughout this report, tables are referenced. These are published in Excel format as supporting documents to the report, and include specific results for particular groups in the population (e.g. men and women, urban and rural areas). Some of the differences between groups may be due to random sampling variation i.e. chance. Similarly, some apparent differences between 2020 and 2021 results may occur by chance, particularly given the relatively small achieved sample size for 2020. We use standard statistical tests of significance to determine the likelihood of differences being due to chance. When this report refers to differences between groups or years, these differences are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level unless explicitly stated otherwise. Some differences between groups in the Excel tables that appear large may not be mentioned in this report, because they are not statistically significant.



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