National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Description of the Methodology Used

Description of the Methodology Used

Household estimates for 2001-2005 are based on information from Council Tax billing systems.  These systems contain information on each dwelling in Scotland (Table 2), and dwellings entitled to certain discounts because they are vacant or second homes (Table 3).  This makes it possible to estimate the number of occupied dwellings in each local authority (Table 4). 

This information is provided by each council to the Scottish Executive’s Local Government Finance Statistics Branch each September, via the form CTAXBASE (which can be found on the Scottish Executive's website, on the section corresponding to these statistics, in the Data Supplier Area).  The figures contained in Tables 1-4 are based on these figures. 

The number of occupied dwellings based on Council Tax figures (Table 4) is not exactly the same as the number of households recorded in the Census, due to differences in the way that certain types of dwellings are treated.  These include shared dwellings, some communal establishments, some holiday accommodation, and dwellings occupied entirely by adults who are ‘disregarded’ for the purpose of paying Council Tax.  Therefore, the figures are adjusted to the 2001 Census results, to obtain an estimate of the number of households in each local authority in Scotland (Table 1). The figures in Table 1 are also adjusted from September to June, to provide comparable figures with the estimates from 1991-2001 (see below). This means that the change in the number of occupied dwellings each year will not exactly match the change in the number of households, though the trends over time will be consistent.

Council Tax was introduced in the early 1990s, so a different source must be used to provide household estimates going back to 1991.  Household estimates for 1991 to 2001, are based on population estimates (Table 1).  This involves taking each year’s mid-year population estimate, subtracting the number of people living in communal establishments, and using information from the 1991 and 2001 Censuses to estimate the number of households.

Council Tax systems contain little information about the type of household, so the Scottish Household Survey is used to estimate the number of households of each type, in Scotland as a whole (Table 5).  The sample size of this survey is not large enough to provide reliable information on each household type in each local authority area.

A detailed description of the methodology and sources used can be found in the publication ‘Household Estimates for Scotland by Local Authority 1991 to 2004’, available from this website.