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Household Estimates: a data cube column

Number and percentage of total dwellings that are occupied, vacant, second homes, are occupied and exempt from paying Council Tax and that are receiving a Single Adult Council Tax discount. An 'occupied dwelling' is roughly equivalent to a household.


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About the Dataset
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In dataset
Next update due
May 2020

This dataset contains information on the number (‘count’) of dwellings in each data zone and council area in Scotland, and the percentages (‘ratio’) that are occupied, vacant, second homes, occupied and exempt from paying Council Tax, or receiving a 'single adult' Council Tax discount (i.e. dwellings subject to a Council Tax discount of 25 per cent).

The estimates are based on two Council Tax data collections carried out each year in September. Council Tax data contains information on the various discounts/exemptions awarded to each dwelling in Scotland. From these we can determine which dwellings are occupied and which are vacant or second homes. Council area and Scotland level estimates are produced using data provided by each council to the Scottish Government, using the Council Tax Base form, ‘Ctaxbase’, available from the Scottish Government website. Data zone level estimates are produced using data provided by each council to National Records of Scotland (NRS) at data zone or postcode level. Data zone level estimates are constrained so that they sum to the Council Tax Base totals for a council area, unless a council has advised otherwise. For full details of the methods used see the ‘Estimates of Households and Dwellings in Scotland’ publications on the NRS website.

The number of occupied dwellings is roughly equivalent to the number of households in an area, which is why we refer to this dataset as ‘Household Estimates’. This dataset provides the best source of information on the number of occupied dwellings or households at data zone level each year. However, for information on numbers of households in council areas and Scotland, separate mid-year household estimates are available on and the NRS website. These are based on the September occupied dwellings data but are adjusted (i) to estimate number of households in June, (ii) to account for the estimated number of occupied dwellings which contain more than one household and (iii) to account for the estimated number of communal establishments which have been included in Council Tax records.

Additional summary statistics for National Parks, Strategic Development Plan areas, urban-rural classifications and Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation deciles are published annually in 'Estimates of Households and Dwellings in Scotland' which is available from the NRS website.

The estimated total number of dwellings in this dataset differ from those in the ‘Dwellings by Council Tax Band’, ‘Dwellings by Number of Rooms’, ‘Dwellings Median Number of Rooms’ and ‘Dwellings by Type’ datasets as these are extracted from a different source (the Assessors’ Portal) at a different time of year (December,, or January the following year).

Total Dwellings A ‘dwelling’ refers to the accommodation itself, for example a house or a flat, and includes second homes that are not let out commercially. Caravans count as dwellings if they are someone’s main house.

Which Are Occupied Any dwelling apart from those which are vacant or second homes. The number of occupied dwellings is a good estimate of the number of households.

Which Are Vacant This includes dwellings that are exempt from Council Tax and are unoccupied; and dwellings which are recorded on Council Tax systems as being long-term empty properties.

Which Are Second Homes These dwellings are subject to a Council Tax discount of between 10 per cent and 50 per cent due to being second homes. This includes self-catering holiday accommodation available to let for a total of less than 140 days per year. Second homes which are let out for 140 days or more are not included in these figures as they are classed as business so pay non-domestic rates rather than Council Tax. Each Council sets the level of discount for second homes.

With ‘Occupied Exemptions’ Dwellings exempt from Council Tax, which are occupied. This includes: dwellings only occupied by students, armed forces accommodation owned by the Secretary of State for Defence, dwellings which are the sole residence only of people aged under 18 or people who are classed as severely mentally impaired, trial flats used by registered housing associations, and prisons.

With Single Adult Discount Dwellings subject to a Council Tax discount of 25 per cent. This may include, for example, dwellings with a single adult, dwellings with one adult living with one or more children, or with one or more adults who are 'disregarded' for Council Tax purposes.


This slice of multidimensional data is not a Linked Data resource in the database: it's a virtual resource (i.e. you can't query it by SPARQL). But does have a permanent unique URL which can be bookmarked.