More than half of homeless deaths in 2019 drug-related

25th February 2021

An estimated 216 people experiencing homelessness died in 2019, according to experimental statistics published by National Records of Scotland (NRS).

This represents an increase of 21 deaths (10%) when compared to 2018 estimates.

Almost three quarters of homeless deaths were males, accounting for 157 deaths. The average age at death in 2019 was 43 years for males and 39 years for females.

More than half of homeless deaths were drug-related.

Scotland had the highest homeless death rate when compared to England and Wales, with a rate of 52.2 per million population aged 15-74 compared to 18.0 in England and 14.3 in Wales.

These statistics include people who were in temporary accommodation at the time of their death as well as those who were sleeping rough.

Julie Ramsay, Head of Vital Events at NRS, said:

“Given the importance of having information on the number of homeless deaths in Scotland, we worked with ONS to develop this methodology to provide estimates.

“While these statistics help our understanding of this issue, it’s important to understand these figures are currently experimental and the methodology is under development.

“These estimates do provide context and show that homeless deaths have increased for the second consecutive year, with an 11% increase on the estimate in 2018.”

The publication Homeless Deaths, 2019 and an infographic summary is available on the NRS website.

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