Scottish household survey: Frequently Asked Questions

This section contains a number of frequently asked questions about the Scottish Household Survey.

Topic Coverage 

An implication of the core and modular structure of the survey (described on the methodology page) is that households will be asked on a subset of all questions in the survey.  This means that households can expect to be asked questions on some, though not all, of the topics listed below.

The survey questionnaire itself is structured in three main parts.

The household reference person, who is the Highest Income Householder (HIH) or their spouse/partner completes part 1 of the interview ('Household'). Details of all members of the household, including children, are collected during the household interview. This includes questions related to the composition and characteristics of the household, and involves capturing basic demographic information of all members of the household, such as gender, age and economic situation at this stage, as well detailed information on dwelling characteristics as captured through the old SHCS. The topics covered in the Household section of the survey are as follows:

Topics covered in SHS Household component

Household Composition People living in household, basic demographics

Property type, Tenure & Length of tenure, Ownership of property, Previous home

Household Services Number of bedrooms, Internet access, Food waste/recycling
Driving and Transport Cars, Fuel spend, Bicycles
Children &Young People Schools and travel to school, Activities
Health and Disability

Long-term health condition/illness

House Condition Survey

Noise, Responding to emergency, Repairs, Satisfaction with accommodation, Heating (including type of heating, control, cost, and suitability), Renewables, Energy Efficiency and Insulation, Adaptations

Household Employment

Employment details including status, working pattern & type of work

Household Income Householder/Spouse paid/self-employed/other jobs, Benefits, Other sources
Household Finances

Banking, Savings and investments, Standard of living

Mortgages and Rent

Rent and Mortgages, Household costs including service charge and council tax, Managing financially

Subsequently a child is selected from all household members under 16 (the 'Random Child') and the household respondent is asked questions about childcare for that child. A child who is at school is also selected (the 'Random School Child') and the household respondent answers questions about the school that child attends and the journey they make to go there.

Once the composition of the household has been established, one of the adults in the household is randomly selected by the computer to complete part 2 ('Random Adult'). This covers the behavioural and attitudinal type questions, such as satisfaction with local services, and captures further demographic information on the random adult. This element also covers the "Travel Diary" component which asks about travel behaviours on the day previous to that of the interview day. In all households with a single adult the same person completes both parts, but as the number of adults in the household increases, the probability of the random adult being the same as the household respondent declines. The topics covered in the Random Adult section of the survey are as follows:

Topics covered in SHS Random Adult component

Adult Characteristics

Basic demographics, Country of birth and date of entry


Housing experiences

Neighbourhoods and Communities

Rating, Belonging, Crime & Police performance, Greenspace, Anti-social behaviour, Safety, Discrimination and Harassment, Involvement with Neighbours

Education Qualifications, Internet (including use & access, internet security)
Travel and Transport Licence, Driving, Park and rides, Electric cars, Travel to work/education, Congestion, Car Sharing, Air travel, Public transport, Incidents, Journey planning, Road accidents and Travel Diary

Volunteering, Local government & services

Perceptions of local government, Volunteering, Perceptions of local services, Culture & Sport, Visits to outdoors

Health,Disability and Caring

Self-assessed health, Disability, Caring responsibilities, Smoking, Concessionary travel


Employment status & Government work scheme

The full SHS Questionnaire can be accessed here.

Physical survey

At the end of the Household component of the survey, the HIH may be asked if they would be willing to have the follow-up component "Physical Survey" of the dwelling arranged. Such surveys are conducted by professional surveyors through a visual inspection of the dwelling. The surveyor will assess the condition, design and energy efficiency of the home, with much of their time spent surveying the outside, but they will ask to see all the rooms inside. Results from the Physical Survey are reported in the Scottish House Condition Survey Key Findings Report.

If you have any enquiries about the topic list, then please contact the SHS team.




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