Poverty and income inequality statistics

Collection of statistics and analysis relating to poverty, household income, and income inequality.

Introduction

This page contains statistics and analysis related to poverty, income inequality and household income overall.

Other pages can be found here:

Latest statistics

The main poverty report contains the latest offical poverty, child poverty, and income inequality statistics for Scotland, as well as poverty rates broken down by a range of equality characteristics. Data for this report comes from the Family Resources Survey.

The persistent poverty report contains the latest official statistics on persistent poverty. Someone is in persistent poverty if they have been in relative poverty for at least three out of the last four years. Data for this report comes from the Understanding Society Survey.

The main poverty report was not updated in 2022. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on data collection, poverty and income estimates for Scotland for the latest three-year period 2018-21 were not robust enough to be published as official statistics. However, for transparency, we will published an analytical report of this data.

Additional poverty analysis is available on a range of subgroups of the population under Additional statistics below.

Additional statistics

Alongside the main annual poverty publication, we publish supplementary poverty and severe poverty estimates for a wide range of household and individual characteristics. The sections below include these, as well as additional analysis related to poverty and income inequality published throughout the year.

Local statistics

The main poverty data source, the Family Resources Survey, provides information at national level only. The information presented in this section is based on alternative sources and is not directly comparable with the official poverty estimates presented in Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland annual publication.

Local child poverty statistics

Local child poverty statistics can be found on the child poverty statistics pages:

Small area income estimates

The Scottish Government commissioned Heriot-Watt University in association with David Simmonds Consultancy to develop small area estimates of gross household income. The most recent publication in November 2020 presents data for 2015, 2017 and 2018, and includes the distribution of modelled household weekly income at data zone level (based on the commissioned research) and local authority level (based on an secondary analysis by Scottish Government). 

The estimates were primarily produced for housing affordability purposes. As such they are based on gross income. This is different from the usual measures of income and poverty which are based on net income.  This measure should therefore be considered an approximate estimate only, but may be of interest for local level poverty related analysis.

Scottish Household Survey

Detailed analysis undertaken in 2020 concluded that the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) measures household income accurately enough to produce income deciles and identify households who are in relative poverty before housing costs, with some caveats concerning benefit recipients including pensioners. This will enable SHS data users to provide their measures of interest broken down by income decile or poverty status. 

Food insecurity

The 2019 Scottish Health Survey showed that 9% of adults experienced food insecurity in the preceding 12 months, defined as worrying about running out of food due to lack of money or other resources. From March 2019 onwards, food insecurity is also measured in the UK-wide Family Resources Survey, with the first data published in the poverty report.

Find out about our Good Food Nation policy.

Measuring poverty

The documents below explain the terminology, definitions and methodology used to calculate the official poverty and household income measures. They also include information on uncertainty around some of the key poverty estimates, and alternative data sources for poverty measurement.

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