National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Summary of the Results

Summary of the Results

This report gives forward projections for the number of households in Scotland up to 2024, based on the estimated population of Scotland in mid-2004.

Overall change

  • Between 2004 and 2024, the number of households in Scotland is projected to increase by 13 per cent to 2.5 million - an average of 14,800 additional households per year.

  • Over the same period, Scotland's population is projected to increase by just 0.8 per cent. Therefore, most of the projected increase is the result of more people living alone or in smaller households. The average household size is projected to decrease from 2.22 people in 2004 to 1.97 in 2024.

  • Scotland's population is ageing, with more people in the older age groups and fewer in the younger age groups. This has an impact on household structure, as children tend to live in larger households, and older people in smaller ones.

Household type

  • There is a large projected increase in households containing just one adult, from 770,000 (34 per cent of all households) in 2004 to over a million (42 per cent) in 2024.

  • Older women are more likely than men to live alone. But the number of men living alone is projected to increase more rapidly, from 330,000 households in 2004 to 490,000 in 2024, an increase of nearly a half. The number of men living alone who are aged 85 or over is projected to increase from 9,000 to 22,000.

  • There are also projected increases in other small households. Households containing just two adults without children are projected to rise from 670,000 to 810,000, though there is a projected decrease of nearly a quarter in the number of two adult households in the 35-54 age groups. The number of households containing one adult with children is projected to rise from 150,000 to 200,000.

  • In contrast, the number of larger households is projected to fall, with households containing two or more adults with children decreasing from 460,000 (20 per cent of all households) in 2004 to 320,000 (13 per cent) by 2024. There is also a projected decrease in the number of households containing three or more adults, from 200,000 to 150,000.

Age group

  • The greatest projected increases are in households headed by people aged 60 or over (an increase of over a third between 2004 and 2024, from 730,000 to 990,000). In contrast, households headed by someone aged under 60 are projected to increase by just two per cent, to around 1.55 million. The number of households headed by someone aged 85 or over is projected to more than double over the same period, from 56,000 to 120,000.

Local authority figures

  • The projections show that almost all local authority areas will have more households over the next 20 years. The largest projected increase between 2004 and 2024 is in West Lothian (34 per cent). Edinburgh, the Scottish Borders, East Lothian and Fife all have projected increases of between 21 and 23 per cent. Aberdeen City has a projected decrease of 6 per cent over the same period, and Dundee City has a projected decrease of 5 per cent.