This indicator shows the percentage of adults who felt lonely in the last week “some”/”most”/”all or almost all” of the time.

Source of Data:

Data for this indicator is published in the Scottish Household Survey Annual Report, which can be found here. An interactive data explorer for the SHS can be found here.

This indicator is an indirect measure of loneliness through the survey question 'How much of the time during the last week have you felt lonely?’

The indicator's value is calculated as follows: Number of people who respond 'some of the time' + ‘most of the time’ + ‘all of almost all of the time’ / Total adult population (based on SHS). The unit of measurement is the percentage of all random adults surveyed who respond 'some of the time’, ‘most of the time’ and ‘all or almost all of the time’ to this question.

From 2018, local authority level data is available annually (previously, biennially).  Estimates are subject to sampling error and, particularly for small councils, will give only a broad indication of change at local authority level. Some councils may choose to gather similar data through local surveys of their residents though differences in data collection methods may make comparisons of these data difficult.


Loneliness is a subjective concept, but the national strategy for tackling social isolation and loneliness defines it as: a subjective feeling experienced when there is a difference between the social relationships we would like to have and those we have.

Criteria for Change:

The evaluation is based on:

  • any difference within +/- 1.3 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change.
  • An increase of 1.3 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving
  • a decrease of 1.3 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.

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