Scottish household survey 2016: key findings

Short report summarising the key findings from the Scottish household survey 2016: annual report.


What is the Scottish Household Survey?

This is an important study that provides essential information to the Scottish Government, local councils and charities on a range of policy areas. The survey covers a range of different topics including homes, neighbourhoods and views on local public services.

The Scottish Government, local councils and various charities use the results to improve the lives of people in your area and across Scotland.

Every year the Scottish Government invites households across Scotland to take part in this annual survey of over 10,000 households. Information is collected from a random sample of pre-selected homes in Scotland. In order to get a true picture of all types of people living in Scotland, we choose addresses at random from a list supplied by the Post Office. This means we cannot ask someone else to replace chosen households as this would bias the results. Interviewers go into people's homes and ask questions face-to-face. Answers are recorded on computers. All areas of Scotland are covered. Taking part in the survey is voluntary.

Why is it important?

It is a unique chance for people in Scotland to tell about their views and experiences on a range of issues and to shape each local area and Scotland as a whole. The survey has run since 1999. It has helped shape various public services over that time.

At national and local level, analysis of SHS data is also used to identify which people or areas need funding most, including in transport and housing. For example, Scottish Government analysis of SHS data identified lower internet access by those living in social housing. Up until then it had been thought that access to the internet was lowest by those that rented from private landlords. Knowing the facts meant that funding could be correctly targeted at social housing tenants in order to provide affordable broadband access and training. So far there has been a 19% increase in the number of social housing tenants online.

What does it provide?

The survey provides robust evidence on the composition, characteristics, attitudes and behaviour of private households and individuals, as well as evidence on the physical condition of Scotland's homes.

The current scale of the SHS enables all users to obtain a robust deeper understanding of issues and performance, by being able to analyse across key demographic household characteristics such as deprivation, age, income, gender, rurality, ethnicity and other equalities. This is crucial to informing the Fairer Scotland agenda.

What is involved for those who take part?

Each home selected to take part receives an advance letter and leaflet in the post explaining an interviewer from Ipsos MORI will call. Shortly after the interview, at a convenient time selected by the householder, a qualified surveyor conducts a non-intrusive survey of homes assessing its condition and energy efficiency.

The interview is in two parts. The first part asks the owner or main tenant (or partner) about their home and their household. The second part asks an adult, chosen at random from your household, about a range of topics including their neighbourhood, use of transport and local services.


The Scottish Household Survey report is produced under the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. National Statistics are produced free of political interference, to agreed standards, and undergo regular quality assurance reviews.

For more information,


Email: Emma McCallum,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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