How are households in Scotland changing?

Every year, National Records of Scotland estimates how many households there are in Scotland, and how many people live in the average household. Households can be groups of people living together in homes, or single people living alone in a home.

Why is this important? Well, knowing how many households there are, and how many households there might be in future, is key for planning local services like waste collection and community care, and for planning for future housing needs.

The number of households in Scotland has been steadily rising over time, at a slightly faster rate than the population. According to our latest estimates, there are now 2.45 million households in Scotland. However, you may not know that the makeup of the typical household has also been changing.

households 1

In the past, larger households of three or more people were the most common type in Scotland. According to the census carried out in 1961, only 14% of households consisted of one person living alone. However, our latest estimates show that one person households are now the most common type. In fact, we estimate that nearly 900,000 people in Scotland are living alone.

Chart showing number of single person and two person or more households

One of the main reasons for this is that the number of older people in Scotland is going up. Older people are more likely to live alone, or in smaller households, so as the number of older people increases, the size of the average household decreases. This could be important to bear in mind for planning the sort of housing and care which will be needed in future.

If you would like to find out more, the full publication, infographic summary and interactive data visualisation for the 2016 household estimates are available on our website.

 

Amelia Brereton, Assistant Statistician

Estimating the number of homes in Scotland

Every year we estimate how many homes there are in Scotland, and also how many of those homes are either empty, or second homes. Our estimates are then used for planning things like housing and local services.

Our latest estimates suggest there are now 2.58 million homes in Scotland. For every hundred homes in Scotland, we estimate that 96 are occupied all year, one is a second home occupied for only part of the year, and three are empty homes which are not being occupied at all. Empty and second homes are more common in some parts of the country than others. For example, remote rural areas have a higher proportion of both second homes and empty homes than urban areas.

Number of occupied dwellings, empty homes and second homes in Scotland

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