Rural Scotland Key Facts 2018

The Scottish Government has produced booklet compiling statistics from a range of sources which paints the picture of living and working in rural Scotland.

It covers a broad range of  areas including

  • People and Communities
  • Services and Lifestyle
  • Economy and Enterprise

The document provides facts and statistics which will be used to help inform rural policy and provide evidence for need for change.


Summary of the key messages

Rural Scotland is Important

Rural Scotland accounts for 98% of the land mass of Scotland and 17% of the population are resident there. Over recent years, the population of rural Scotland has continued to grow at a faster rate than the rest of Scotland, driven by the increase in accessible rural areas, mainly due to inward migration.

Rural Scotland is a ‘Very Good’ Place to Live

A higher proportion of residents of rural Scotland, compared to the rest of Scotland, rate their neighbourhood as a ‘very good’ place to live. Fewer residents experience neighbourhood problems (e.g. litter, graffiti) and more residents feel they belong to their immediate neighbourhood. In addition, more people volunteer in the community. Crime is less prevalent than in the rest of Scotland and more people feel ‘very safe’ when home alone at night.

Rural Scotland Faces Certain Challenges

In terms of travel and access to services, more people in rural areas are outwith a reasonable drive time to key services (e.g. GPs and shops) compared to the rest of Scotland and fewer people are satisfied with the quality of the public transport services delivered. Residents of rural Scotland spend more a month on fuel for cars, with around half of residents reporting to spend over £100 a month in 2017, compared to 38% in the rest of Scotland.

The rates of emergency and cancer admissions to hospital are lower in rural Scotland, however this may be due to an increased difficulty in accessing hospitals. A lower proportion of people living in rural Scotland, compared to the rest of Scotland, state that the nearest hospital outpatients department is either very or fairly convenient.

The proportion of households in remote rural areas which are classed as extreme fuel poor (households which spend more than 20% of its income on household fuel) is around four times the proportion in the rest of Scotland and double the proportion in accessible rural areas.

You can download the document by clicking here.

Paul Daly

Paul Daly

Paul has an MSc in Environmental Studies, and a BA (Hons) in Psychology.

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