National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Number of households continues to increase

Number of households continues to increase

Thursday, 22 Jun 2023
demography news release

In 2022, there were an estimated 2.55 million households, 15% more than 20 years ago, according to figures published today by National Records of Scotland (NRS). 

The number of households in 2021 and 2022 increased by around 21,000 each year, the highest figures since 2008.

Every council area saw the number of households increase over the last twenty years. The highest percentage increases were in Orkney Islands (28%), East Lothian (27%), and Midlothian (26%). The lowest percentage increases were in Inverclyde (4%), Dundee City (7%), and West Dunbartonshire (7%).

Of the 2.70 million dwellings in Scotland in 2022, 90,700 (3%) were empty. 

A total of 24,300 (1%) dwellings were second homes. Remote rural areas generally have higher proportions of empty and second homes than urban areas.

Sandy Taylor, Head of Household Statistics said:

“These latest statistics show a continuation of the trends in the number and type of households that we have seen over the last twenty years.

“The growth in the number of households is partly due to an increase in the population but it is also because people are increasingly living alone or with fewer other people.

“The average household size in Scotland decreased from 2.25 people per household in 2002 to 2.18 in 2012, and then to 2.11 in 2022.”


These figures are based on a National Statistics publication released today by National Records of Scotland (NRS):

‘Estimates of Households and Dwellings in Scotland 2022’ 

The household and dwelling statistics are mainly used for informing decisions about housing need and service provision.

A ‘dwelling’ refers to the accommodation itself, for example, a house or a flat. A ‘household’ refers to the people living together in that dwelling. The number of households will be smaller than the number of dwellings, as some dwellings are vacant or second homes.

In 2013, the Scottish Government introduced legislation which allows councils to increase the Council Tax charges on certain long-term empty properties. It also made slight changes to the definitions of such properties and second homes. The aim of the legislation is to encourage empty home owners to bring their properties back into use. More information on this, and other empty homes initiatives, can be found on the Scottish Government website at:

Further statistics produced by NRS, and information about our statistics, can be accessed at:

Media enquiries should be directed to:  
Donna Green – 07775-027-380
NRS Communications
Email: [email protected] 

Further information about the statistics is available from:
NRS Customer Services
Email: [email protected]