National Care Service - adult social care: equality evidence review

Overview of evidence related to equality in adult social care in Scotland. It is part of a collection of contextual evidence papers, setting out key sources of information about social care and related areas in Scotland.

Key findings

  • People who access social care, unpaid carers, and social care workers are diverse groups with a broad range of needs and experiences.
  • In 2020/21 more than three quarters (77%) of people receiving social care support and services in Scotland were aged 65 and older, and around three-fifths (61%) were female, although this varies by age group.
  • However, people of all ages access social care support, and there has been an overall increase in the number of people receiving adult social care in Scotland across all age groups in recent years.
  • Women are more likely than men to report that they provide regular unpaid care. Caring prevalence varies by age, increasing from 12% of those aged 16-44, to 28% of those aged 45-64, before decreasing to 14%-18% among those aged 65 and over.
  • In 2020, 80% of adult social care staff were female. The social care workforce is older than the general workforce.
  • There is little data and evidence on the scope and experiences of some protected characteristic groups most notably, gender reassignment and religion or belief.
  • Some groups have been particularly disadvantaged by the Coronavirus pandemic, including: older people; disabled people and people who had been advised to shield.



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