Rural Scotland rated very good place to live

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland's Chief Statistician today published the Rural Scotland Key Facts 2018. The publication brings together previously published statistics on a range of key policy areas, providing comparisons between remote rural areas, accessible rural areas and the rest of Scotland. The statistics provide a valuable evidence base on issues affecting rural Scotland.

The publication is grouped into three sections:

  • People and Communities:

Including data on population changes, age distributions, household composition, experience of crime and neighbourhood likes and dislikes.

  • Services and Lifestyle:

Including data on access to services, travel patterns, educational attainment, life expectancy, house prices, housing quality and rates of fuel poverty.

  • Economy and Enterprise:

Including data on employment and unemployment rates, industry size, earnings and patterns of work.

Some examples of the results contained in the publication are provided below. Comparisons between rural areas (remote and accessible), and the rest of Scotland show that rural areas have:

  • a population that is increasing faster than in the rest of Scotland and higher rates of in‑migration;
  • higher rates of economically active people and more households where total income exceeds £20,000 per year;
  • longer life expectancies and fewer emergency hospital admissions;
  • a higher proportion of people who volunteer in their community and rate their neighbourhood as a ‘very good’ place to live and; and
  • a higher proportion of people who feel they belong to their immediate neighbourhood as well as who think that if they were alone and needed help they could rely on their friends/relatives in their neighbourhood to help them.

Rural areas also have:

  • an ageing population with a lower percentage of the population in the age range 16-34 and a higher proportion aged 45 and over;
  • fewer single adult households and more households where at least one resident is of pensionable age.
  • more expensive and less energy efficient housing stock and a higher rate of households in fuel poverty, especially extreme poverty;
  • a higher proportion of households spending over £100 a month on fuel for cars;
  • fewer residents who find key services convenient and who are satisfied with the quality of public transport services delivered; and
  • fewer children who walk or cycle to school and fewer adults who use public transport to travel to work or education.


The Rural Scotland Key Facts is a biennial compendium publication. The full statistical publication can be accessed at:

The definition of remote rural areas and accessible rural areas are based on the Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification. Most of the tables and charts are based on the Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2016, unless otherwise stated.

Further information on the Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification can be accessed at:

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:

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