Relative poverty across Scottish Local Authorities

A report which presents new figures about the proportion of households in relative poverty at LA level across Scotland.


This publication presents, for the first time, official figures about the distribution of income and relative poverty across Scotland at local authority area level.

These figures have been produced from the Scottish Household Survey ( SHS) and are the result of work which has been carried out within the Scottish Government on this survey. The SHS collects information about a range of topics from households across Scotland, including household income. Until now however, the SHS has been of limited use for the study of income and poverty across Scotland as it does not record complete household information for all household types. This work attempted to overcome this issue by combining SHS data with data from the Family Resources Survey, a UK wide survey of household incomes run by the Department for Work and Pensions. Readers interested in the methodology used to combine these data sources should see the methodology section at the end of this report for more details.

Relative poverty estimates for Scotland are presented and compared to estimates from the Family Resources Survey. The main reason for this is to validate the new SHS income figures by showing that the two surveys produce comparable estimates of relative poverty at Scotland level. The Family Resources Survey is the primary official source of income information at Scotland and UK level and it is the FRS figures which will continue to be used to monitor UK and Scottish Government income inequality and poverty targets within Scotland.

Box 1 - Relative poverty

There are several official indicators which are used to monitor poverty in the UK and Scotland however Relative poverty before housing costs is the most commonly quoted. This is reported by the Scottish Government as National Indicator 14: "To decrease the proportion of individuals living in poverty" it is also one of the indicators which the UK Child Poverty Act requires the UK government to report on although most of the figures presented in this report are for poverty among all individuals, not just children.

In the SHS figures presented here households are defined as being in relative poverty if their equivalised net income before housing costs is less than sixty percent of the median Scottish household equivalised income. In 2008 this corresponded to a household of two adults without children living on of £248 per week or less. There are some differences between the way that the SHS and FRS define relative poverty however the figures in the following section show that the estimates of the proportion of households in relative poverty in Scotland from the two sources are comparable. See the publication "Poverty and income inequality in Scotland: 2008/09" for more detail about the relative poverty definitions used in the FRS:

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