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2 The Composition and Characteristics of Households in Scotland

Main Findings

Religious belonging in Scotland is declining over time – just over a

half of adults reported that they don’t belong to a religion

Three out of ten adults in Scotland reported a long-term health condition.

This is increasing over time.

A quarter of all adults in Scotland are permanently retired from work

Over a third of people in Scotland live alone

Only five per cent of households in Scotland are two adult families with three or more children, or three or more adult families with one or more children.

Six out of ten households in Scotland are owner-occupier

Almost six out of 10 households in Scotland earn less than £25,000 a year

2.1 Introduction and Context

This chapter describes the types of homes in Scotland and who lives in them.

Collecting information on age, disability, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexual orientation provides an important contribution to the overall equality evidence base. This is used by policy makers to target services and tackle discrimination and disadvantage. The Scottish Household Survey ( SHS) collects information about all household members, including children.

The age and number of people in the household are combined to give a ‘household type’. The SHS uses eight household types defined as follows:

  • A single adult household – contains one adult of 16-64 year olds and no children.
  • A single parent household – contains one adult of any age and one or more children.
  • A single older – household contains one adult of pensionable age and no children. Pensionable age is 60 for women and 65 for men.
  • A small family household – contains two adults of any age and one or two children.
  • An older smaller household – contains one adult of 16-64 year olds and one of pensionable age and no children, or two adults of pensionable age and no children.
  • A large adult household – contains three or more adults and no children.
  • A small adult household – contains two adults of 16-64 year olds and no children.
  • A large family household – contains two adults of any age and three or more children, or three or more adults of any age and one or more children.

Technical survey information

A technical description of why we have information on adults and households and where the Highest Income Householder ( HIH) fits in is required.

The highest income householder gives the characteristics of all household members, including children and answers questions on characteristics of the household. Then, one of the adults in the household completes another part of the interview (‘random adult’), which is mostly around behaviour and attitudes.

The characteristics of adults, households and the Highest Income Householder ( HIH) are described below. Due to the method of collecting this data, the household member characteristics of gender and age will be accurately reported. However, whether a member of the household has a long standing illness or disability is thought to be under reported as the household reference person may not know of individuals’ conditions.

2.2 All Household Members

Information on all household members shows:

  • a quarter of people are over 60 years old.
  • there are slightly more women than men in Scotland.
  • there is an increasing number of people with a long-term health condition

The gender and age of all household members as well as whether a household member has a long-term illness or disability [18] are presented in Table 2.1.

Table 2.1: Characteristics of all household members
Column percentages, 2016 data
All household members

Gender
Male 49
Female 51
Total 100
Base 22,760
Age
0-15 17
16-24 11
25-34 13
35-44 12
45-59 21
60-74 17
75+ 8
Total 100
Base 22,760
Long-term physical or mental health condition
Yes 22
No 78
Total 100
Base 22,670

2.3 Adults in Private Households

  • Questions asked of individuals show that the population in Scotland is largely white, ageing and three out of ten adults have a long-term limiting physical or mental health condition.

A second part of the interview selects one adult at random. In one person households, this is the same person. More detailed questions are asked of this ‘random adult’.

Table 2.2 to 2.8 present equality characteristics of adults, based on those selected to take part in the ‘random adult’ interview. These tables provide estimates for age, gender, marital status, ethnicity, current economic situation of all adults and 16-64 year olds adults, whether they have a long term illness or disability, sexual orientation and religion of adults in Scotland.

The results show that the population in Scotland is largely white, ageing and three out of ten adults have a long-term limiting physical or mental health condition. Changes over time show health is worsening.

Table 2.2: Characteristics of adults – age, gender, and long-term health condition
Column percentages, 2016 data
Adults

Gender
Male 48
Female 52
Total 100
Base 9,640
Age
16-24 14
25-34 16
35-44 15
45-59 26
60-74 20
75+ 9
Total 100
Base 9,640
Long-term physical or mental health condition
Yes 30
No 70
Total 100
Base 9,610

Examination of the time series data shows an increase in the percentage of adults reporting a long-term health condition ( Figure 2.1). In 2016, three out of ten adults (30 per cent) reported a long-term physical or mental health condition, an increase from 27 per cent in 2012.

Figure 2.1: Long-term physical or mental health condition of adults by year
Adults (minimum base: 3,200)

Figure 2.1: Long-term physical or mental health condition of adults by year

Table 2.3: Characteristics of adults – ethnicity
Column percentages, 2016 data
Adults

Ethnicity
White 96.0
Scottish 78.9
Other British 11.9
Irish 1.0
Gypsy / Traveller 0.0
Polish 1.8
Other white ethnic group 2.4
Any mixed or multiple ethnic groups 0.3
Asian 2.3
Pakistani, Pakistani Scottish or Pakistani British 0.7
Indian, Indian Scottish or Indian British 0.5
Bangladeshi, Bangladeshi Scottish or Bangladeshi British 0.1
Chinese, Chinese Scottish or Chinese British 0.5
Other Asian ethnic group 0.5
African 0.5
African, African Scottish or African British 0.3
Other African ethnic group 0.2
Caribbean or Black 0.1
Caribbean, Caribbean Scottish or Caribbean British 0.1
Black, Black Scottish or Black British 0.0
Other Caribbean or Black ethnic group 0.0
Other Ethnic Group 0.7
Arab, Arab Scottish or Arab British 0.2
Any other ethnic group 0.6
Don't know 0.0
Refused 0.1
Total 100
Base 9,640

Examining the economic status of all adults and then a subset of 16-64 year olds adults shows some interesting results ( Table 2.4). A quarter of all adults are permanently retired from work and five per cent of 16-64 year olds adults are also retired. Only four per cent of 16-64 year olds adults are unemployed and seeking work.

Table 2.4: Characteristics of adults – economic status
Column percentages, 2016 data
Adults

Economic status All adults Working-age adults
Self employed 6 8
Employed full time 37 48
Employed part time 10 12
Looking after the home or family 5 7
Permanently retired from work 25 5
Unemployed and seeking work 3 4
At school 2 3
In further / higher education 6 8
Gov't work or training scheme 0 0
Permanently sick or disabled 4 5
Unable to work because of short-term illness or injury 1 1
Other 0 0
Total 100 100
Base 9,640 6,680

Looking at the economic status of selected groups of adults and how this has changed over time also presents some interesting results ( Figure 2.2). The proportion of those who are permanently retired from work increased from 22 per cent in 1999 to 25 per cent in 2016. Similarly, the proportion of adults in further or higher education increased from four per cent in 1999 to six per cent in 2016, while the proportion of those looking after the home or family has been decreasing, from eight per cent in 1999 to five per cent in 2016.

Figure 2.2: Economic status of adults by year – selected groups
Adults (minimum base: 9,410)

Figure 2.2: Economic status of adults by year – selected groups

Sexual orientation

  • Ninety-eight per cent of adults identified themselves as heterosexual.

Table 2.5: Characteristics of adults – sexual orientation
Column percentages, 2016 data

Sexual orientation Male Female All
Heterosexual/Straight 97.7 98.1 97.9
Gay/Lesbian 1.4 0.9 1.1
Bisexual 0.4 0.3 0.4
Other 0.1 0.2 0.1
Refused 0.4 0.5 0.4
Total 100 100 100
Base 4,400 5,240 9,640

The question on sexual orientation was introduced to the SHS in 2011 as one of the Scottish Government’s “core” questions [19] . Developed by the Office for National Statistics, the question was designed to provide accurate statistics to underpin the equality monitoring responsibilities of public sector organisations and to assess the disadvantage or relative discrimination experienced by the lesbian, gay and bisexual population. It should be noted that estimates on self-identified sexual orientation from the SHS are likely to under-represent the lesbian, gay and bisexual population. Potential reasons for this are discussed in Annex 2: Glossary.

Religion

  • Religious belonging in Scotland is declining over time.
  • Around a half of adults reported that they don’t belong to a religion.

Since the harmonised question on religious belonging was introduced to the SHS in 2009, there has been an upward trend in the proportion of adults reporting not belonging to a religion, from 40 per cent in 2009 to just over a half of adults (51 per cent) [20] in 2016 ( Figure 2.3). There has also been a corresponding decrease in the proportion reporting belonging to ‘Church of Scotland’, from 34 per cent to 24 per cent.

Table 2.6: Characteristics of adults – religious belonging
Column percentages, 2016 data
Adults

Religion
None 51.5
Church of Scotland 24.0
Roman Catholic 13.8
Other Christian 7.8
Muslim 1.4
Buddhist 0.3
Sikh 0.1
Jewish 0.1
Hindu 0.3
Pagan 0.2
Another religion 0.6
Total 100
Base 9,640

Figure 2.3: Religious belonging of adults by year
2016 data, Adults (minimum base: 9,410)

Figure 2.3: Religious belonging of adults by year

Marital status

Exploring the marital status of different age groups reveals the following:

  • Young adults are mostly single.
  • After age 35 adults are more likely to be married.
  • Divorce rate rises after age 45.

Table 2.7: Characteristics of adults – marital status
Column percentages, 2016 data
Adults

Marital status
Never married and never registered a same-sex civil partnership 36
Married 47
In a registered same-sex civil partnership 0
Separated, but still legally married 2
Separated, but still legally in a same-sex civil partnership. 0
Divorced 8
Formerly in a same-sex civil partnership which is now legally dissolved. 0
Widowed. 7
Surviving partner from a same-sex civil partnership 0
Refused 0
Total 100
Base 9,640

Figure 2.4 shows the relationships between current marital status and adults of different ages. Of those adults aged 16 to 24 in 2016, the vast majority (97 per cent) have never been married or been in a same sex civil partnership. For those in the age bands between 35 to 74, marriage is the predominant status and accounts for 60 per cent of adults across these categories. The proportion married or in a civil partnership then drops off slightly for those aged 75 or over (48 per cent) with fewer adults (40 per cent) in this age group reporting being widowed or a bereaved civil partner.

Figure 2.4: Current marital status of adults by age
2016 data, Adults (minimum base: 730)

Figure 2.4: Current marital status of adults by age

Table 2.8 shows the percentage of each marital status category who are aged 16 to 24, 25 to 34 and so on [21] .

Table 2.8: Marital status and age of population
Row percentages, 2016 data

Marital status 16-24 25-34 35-44 45-59 60-74 75+ Total Base
Single, never been married/in civil partnership 37 27 14 15 5 2 100 3,130
Married/Civil partnership 1 12 17 32 28 10 100 3,990
Divorced/Seperated 0 4 15 45 30 6 100 1,330
Widowed/Bereaved civil partner - 1 0 10 35 54 100 1,180
All 14 16 15 26 20 9 100 9,640

2.4 Household Characteristics

The Scottish Household Survey provides estimates of geographical characteristics (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and urban/rural classifications), property type, household type, tenure and net household income for households in Scotland.

Household type is derived from the details collected from the household respondent about all household members, using a combination of age and number of people in the household. Full definitions of each household type are included in section 2.1. Combining the data in this way provides an indicator of the life stage and family circumstance of households.

Family circumstance of households

  • Less than one in four households in Scotland contain children.
  • There are very few families in Scotland with three or more children.
  • Over a third of people in Scotland live alone.

Over a third of people in Scotland live alone (35 per cent). Only five per cent of households in Scotland are two adult families with three or more children, or three or more adult families with one or more children. Less than one in five of households in Scotland contain children ( Table 2.9).

House type and tenure

  • Most people in Scotland live in a house or bungalow.
  • Owner-occupier is the most common type of tenure.

Nearly two-thirds of people in Scotland live in a house or a bungalow with the remaining third living in a flat. Owner-occupier is the most common type of tenure with six out of ten adults living in a home they own outright or are buying, followed by nearly a quarter in the social rented sector. The private rented sector is growing in Scotland. More information on this is contained in Chapter 3 on housing.

Area type

  • Over four in five people in Scotland live in urban areas (including small towns) (83 per cent), with only 17 per cent in rural areas.

Income

  • Almost six out of ten households in Scotland earn less than £25,000 a year and only 20 per cent of Scottish households earn more than £40,000 a year.

Please note that the Scottish Household Survey is not the preferred source of income data. Income data in the SHS is mainly collected to be used to explain other results. The official source of income statistics for Scotland is the Family Resource Survey ( FRS). Modelled local level household income estimates provide the best source of income data at a sub-Scotland level. Results from both are available from the Scottish Government website [22] .

Table 2.9: The characteristics of households in Scotland
Column percentages, 2016 data

Household Type
Single adult 21
Small adult 20
Single parent 5
Small family 12
Large family 5
Large adult 9
Older smaller 13
Single older 14
Total 100
Base 10,470
Property Type
A house or bungalow 64.3
A flat, maisonette or apartment (including four-in-a-block or conversion) 35.3
A room or rooms 0.1
A caravan, mobile home or a houseboat 0.1
Some other kind of accommodation 0.2
Total 100
Base 10,470
Tenure
Owner occupied 61
Social rented 23
Private rented 15
Other 1
Total 100
Base 10,470
SIMD quintiles
1 - Most Deprived 22
2 21
3 20
4 19
5 - Least Deprived 19
Total 100
Base 10,470
Urban/Rural classification
Large urban areas 36
Other urban areas 35
Accessible small towns 9
Remote small towns 4
Accessible rural 11
Remote rural 6
Total 100
Base 10,470
Total household income
£0 - £6,000 3
£6,001 - £10,000 9
£10,001 - £15,000 17
£15,001 - £20,000 15
£20,001 - £25,000 13
£25,001 - £30,000 10
£30,001 - £40,000 14
£40,001+ 20
Total 100
Base 10,080

Conclusion

Many interesting features of households in Scotland and the homes they occupy have been examined in this chapter. The next chapter explores housing.


Contact

Email: Emma McCallum, emma.mccallum@gov.scot

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG