National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

244 people died while homeless in 2022

244 people died while homeless in 2022

Tuesday, 28 Nov 2023
demography news release image

An estimated 244 people died while homeless in Scotland in 2022, according to new figures from National Records of Scotland.  

The Homeless Deaths 2022 report shows that while the total figure is similar to the previous year, the number of deaths attributed to drug misuse among those experiencing homelessness fell from 127 to 89. 
Almost three quarters of those who died were male. The number of deaths among females returned to levels seen in previous years after a drop between 2020 and 2021. 

Beth Watson, senior assistant statistician, said: 

“Our estimate shows a small drop in the number of deaths among people experiencing homelessness between 2021 and 2022 but this change is not statistically significant. 

“Our figures go back to 2017 when there were 164 deaths. While the year on year change is small, the number is still significantly higher than it was five years ago.”

Homelessness services run by local authorities provide temporary accommodation for those without a settled home and these figures cover this much larger group as well as the minority who were sleeping rough.

Almost half of the people who died while homeless in Scotland in 2022 were under 45 years old. Drug-misuse accounted for 36% of all deaths among people experiencing homelessness. Half of all deaths were classed as "external causes" which include most drug misuse deaths, accidents, suicide and assault.

The figures come from a report classed as Official Statistics in Development because they use a new and evolving methodology which has not yet been assessed against the rigorous quality standards of National Statistics. 


  • The National Records of Scotland (NRS) is responsible for producing statistics on Scotland’s population. 
  • The full report and an infographic for Homeless Deaths 2022 is available on our website.
  • These are official statistics in development. Establishing an accurate number is difficult because not all people who die while experiencing homelessness have their lack of permanent home recorded on their death registration record. The estimated number of deaths is established by examining death registration records to find people who were either in temporary accommodation or were sleeping rough before they died and adding to this a conservative estimated figure based on sampling. The probability is the true figure is higher. The methodology is explained further in the report on our website.  Estimates of homeless deaths in other parts of the UK are not comparable with those for Scotland – this article (jointly published by statistics producers across the UK) explains why.
  • Our statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff. General information about population statistics can be accessed in the About our Statistics section of the NRS website. 

Media enquiries should be directed to:
Susan Rose by email - [email protected] or mobile 07500 463 452

Further information about the statistics is available from:
Statistics Customer Services    
E-mail: [email protected]