Scottish Household Survey (SHS)


Main uses

SHS is substantial general household survey for Scotland.  As such, it can be used for a wide variety of analyses of household circumstances and views in Scotland.

It also surveys a random adult in each household and, as such, can be used for analyses of individual circumstances and views in Scotland.

SHS is the Scottish equivalent to the English Housing SurveyNational Survey for Wales and Northern Irish Continuous Household Survey.


In summary:

  • Available from: UK data archive.
  • Registration required: yes.
  • First survey available: 1999.
  • Frequency: annual.
  • Updated: December.
  • Scope: Scotland.
  • Format: SPSS, STATA or TAB.
  • Files: 5 files per year but the only one that is substantive is the household-level file.
  • Documentation: comprehensive.
  • Weighted or unweighted: weighted.
  • Household income data: yes but unequivalised only.

Note that:

  • Although the SHS dataset is published on an annual basis, the files for a particular year sometimes also contain the records for the previous year.
  • Although there is no individual-level file, each record in the household-level file contains some information about a ‘random adult’ in that household.

General issues

Which software to use

As the annual dataset is around 15,000 records, it can be exported into Excel.

What weights to use

There are two weights: a household weight and a weight for the random adults who were interviewed and care should be taken to choose the right one for the analysis required.  If the variables to be analysed relate to the household, use the household weight but if the variables to be analysed relate to individual adults then use the random adult weight.  Furthermore, if the analysis is using the random adult weight, then those records with a null weight should be excluded.

What topics to analyse

Note that not all questions are asked every year.  So, for example, the questions about involvement in the community have not been asked since 2002 and the questions about worries about crime were not asked prior to 2002.

Relevant graphs on this website

Scottish graphs

Indicator Graphs Weight Comments
Longstanding illness or disability first random adults
Without home contents insurance all households
Access to transport all random adults
Access to essential services all random adults
Dissatisfaction with public services all random adults Question not asked in 2003 or 2004.
Overcrowding first two households
Dissatisfaction with local area all random adults
Burglaries all bar first two random adults
Feeling unsafe out at night all random adults
Working in a voluntary capacity all random adults


  • For those analyses which use the random adult weight, exclude those with a null weight.
  • For those analyses which are by household income, allocate each record to a household income quintile, calculating the quintile thresholds required to achieve this.