Results released of first Scottish Household Survey conducted by telephone

A snapshot of the characteristics, attitudes and behaviours of Scottish households and individuals during late 2020 and early 2021 has been provided following the release of the Scottish Household Survey – 2020 Telephone Survey.

Results released of first Scottish Household Survey conducted by telephone

Social justice, housing and local government secretary Shona Robison

Given that this is the first time the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) interviews have been conducted by telephone, the results are published as experimental statistics and are not directly comparable with the survey results for previous years.

Among the results, 94% of households were very or fairly satisfied with their housing, with owner-occupiers more likely to be satisfied than those in the social rented sector. 96% of adults rated their neighbourhood as a very or fairly good place to live. Ratings tended to be more positive in less deprived areas.

Around 61% of adults agreed that there were places in their neighbourhood where people could meet up and socialise, while 88% of adults agreed they could rely on someone in their neighbourhood if they were alone and needed help. Adults in the least deprived areas were more likely to agree with these two points.

Meanwhile, 35% of adults reported having felt lonely in the previous week. Loneliness was more common in younger adults, disabled adults and those from deprived areas and urban areas.

Other key findings included:

Public services and institutions

  • 74% of adults reported that they trusted the Scottish Government. Adults aged 16 to 24 were more likely to express trust in the Scottish Government than those aged 75 or over.
  • 88% of adults were satisfied with local health services, 78% with schools and 70% with public transport. 61% were satisfied with all three services. Satisfaction with public transport was lower in remote rural areas than in large urban areas.
  • 25% of adults felt they could influence decisions affecting their local area.

Money and resources

  • 64% of households reported managing well financially. This was less common in more deprived areas, in rented households or if the highest income householder had been furloughed.
  • 61% of households with a child aged under 12 said that it was very easy or easy to afford childcare.
  • 93% of households had access to the internet. Internet access was lower in the most deprived areas and among social rented and single pensioner households.

Volunteering, culture and physical activity

  • 64% of adults had taken part in formal or informal volunteering in the previous year.
  • 44% of adults had attended a cultural event or place of culture in the previous 12 months. Attendance was higher among younger adults, non-disabled adults and those in the least deprived areas.
  • 83% of adults had participated in a cultural activity in the previous 12 months. Participation was higher among women and those in the least deprived areas.
  • 86% of adults had participated in physical activity in the previous four weeks.


  • 80% of adults felt that climate change was an immediate and urgent problem. This view was more common among younger adults and those in the least deprived areas.
  • 68% of adults lived within a five-minute walk of their nearest area of green or blue space (such as parks, woods, rivers or coasts). This was more common in remote rural areas than in large urban areas.
  • 79% of adults visited the outdoors at least once a week. Disabled adults and those living in the most deprived areas were less likely to do so.

Social justice, housing and local government secretary Shona Robison said: “These statistics provide an insight into how people in Scotland lived during the first phase of the pandemic and their interaction with public services.

“The majority of people surveyed were satisfied with their housing and local services including healthcare, and saw their neighbourhood as a good place to live – all of which would have been important during the pandemic while Scotland faced lockdown restrictions.

“It is clear that the economic and social impacts of the pandemic disproportionately affected people who were already disadvantaged or who were unable to work during lockdown, and life for many has been more difficult as a result of COVID-19.

“Our Covid Recovery Strategy, published in the autumn, sets out an ambitious vision for our recovery from the pandemic. It is focused on bringing about a fairer future, tackling inequalities made worse by COVID-19, and improving people’s wellbeing and rebuilding public services so they are more focused on people’s needs.”

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