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Summary: Disability and Rural and Environment

rural communitySummary: Disability and Rural and Environment

  • There is a roughly equal proportion of adults with a long term illness or disability living in rural areas compared to urban areas. In 2016, the proportion of people reporting having a long term health condition or illness was 27% in urban areas and 24% in rural areas. This proportion is despite the fact there is a higher proportion of older people living in rural areas and the prevalence of disability and long term limiting illness increases with age.

Source:  Scottish Household Survey 2016


  • In 2016, an estimated 52% of all adults visited the outdoors at least once a week for leisure or recreation compared to 38% of adults with a long term health condition or illness.

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016


  • In 2016 people with a long term illness or disability were less likely to view climate change as an immediate and urgent problem as people without (49% compared to 57%).

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016


Useful Links

Disability Page

Rural and Environment Page

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

Mapping Flood Disadvantage in Scotland 2015 - This research identifies and maps the neighbourhoods in Scotland that are most disadvantaged by flooding. It looks at the likelihood of an area being flooded and the socio-demographic characteristics of people who live there. The research found that whilst there are no simple equality patterns in those at risk of flooding, older people and disabled people were less able to cope during and after flooding events.

The Experience of Rural Poverty in Scotland: Qualitative Research with Organisations Working with People Experiencing Poverty in Rural Areas (2009)

Factors inluencing rural migration decisions in Scotland (2010)

Growing up in rural Scotland (2008)

Reporting on Progress towards Equality of Opportunity between Disabled Persons and Other Persons made by Public Authorities in Scotland: The Scottish Ministers' Duties: Rural Affairs and the Environment (2008)



The Scottish Government website provides further information on accessing Scottish Household Survey data.

Annual Population Survey and Scottish Household Survey microdata is available (through a ‘special licence’ scheme) from the UK Data Archive.

External Links

External Links

Please note that you will leave the Scottish Government web site by clicking on any of the following links, and that the Scottish Government and its staff are not responsible for content external to this web site.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Scottish Natural Heritage

Special Study on Rural Poverty (SAC, 2008)

Statistics in more details


Rural and Environment