Scottish Household Survey (SHS)

The Scottish Household Survey (SHS) is a continuous survey based on a sample of the general population in private residences in Scotland. The aim of the survey is to provide representative information about the composition, characteristics and behaviours of Scottish households, both nationally and at a more local level.The information collected informs Government policy, focusing on transport and social inclusion. A wide range of other topics is covered in the survey questionnaire in addition to these main policy areas. Core questions, providing standard information about the composition and key characteristics of households, remain largely unchanged over time. However, the continuous nature of the survey and its modular design permits some flexibility, and the questionnaire has evolved - it is reviewed every two years.

The SHS was begun in 1999 and up until 2011 followed a fairly consistent survey design. From 2012 onwards, the survey was substantially redesigned to include elements of the Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS), including the follow-up Physical Survey component. 

Details of the topics and the structure of the questionnaire used from 1999-2008 are available from the SHS TopicsList web page.

The SHS Annual Report contains chapters on the composition and characteristics of households and adults; housing; neighbourhoods and communities; economic activity; finance; transport; internet; health and caring; local services; volunteering; environment; and culture and sport.

Sample size: 11,000. 

Spatial Coverage: 
Data Creator: 
Scottish Government
TNS-BMRB Scotland
Time Period: 

Repeated cross-sectional study: 1999 to present.

Data Publisher:


Additional documentation including survey details, annual reports, variable lookups, and user guides for the Lite versions are available SHS web site.

UKDA Study Number: 
Data Access: 

The data are available as Linked Open Data for browsing or API access through STATISTICS.GOV.SCOT.

To stimulate the use of SHS data, particularly amongst local authorities, voluntary organisations and academia, the Scottish government developed a simplified dataset called SHS Lite. Information on how to access SHS Lite files, as well as other versions of the data, is available on the SHS Data Access page.

Microdata files from earlier rounds, including SHS Lite, of the SHS (1999 to 2008) are available through the UK Data Service at Users must register before receiving a copy of data files.