Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Age Evidence Review

This evidence review was prepared to support the production of the Scottish Government's Equality Outcomes, with regard to age.

15 Conclusion - Cross-cutting summary

15.1 Although there has been a notable decline in child poverty in recent years, a significant number of children continue to experience persistent poverty. This reflects the fact that parents in such families are likely to be young, and so have lower incomes than older parents, and to work fewer hours.

15.2 The evidence reviewed suggests that young people may be disadvantaged relative to older people, in the areas of employment and housing.

  • Young people have been most affected by recent labour market changes: since the start of the recession, there has been an increasing trend in youth unemployment. Young people who find a job are more likely than other age groups to be on a low pay and to work part-time or be underemployed.
  • Younger people may also be disadvantaged in accessing home ownership. High property prices and the lending squeeze are the main factors here.
  • Young people are also over-represented in the homeless population.

15.3 The evidence presented in this review should be seen in the context of changing demography and policy, as the population aged 65 and over is projected to rise from 857,000 in 2008 to 1,409,000 in 2033. The on-going and future impacts of the welfare changes should also be considered.

15.4 Looking at working age adults, the evidence shows that in recent years there has been a rise in poverty for childless households, whether they are in or out of work. In terms of employment, the 35-49 age group has been hit by the recession relatively harder than 25-34 and 50-64 groups, though less than the 16-24 year olds. Older working age people are more likely than other age groups to have no qualifications, and they also provide the bulk of informal care. More positively, this age group has high owner occupation rates and are more likely to hold public appointments.

15.5 Poverty has fallen more dramatically for pensioners than for children and working age adults. Pensioners are most likely to own their homes outright, and to have savings. In recent years, they benefited from the fact that benefit income grew more than earned income, and from free bus travel. On the negative side, pensioners are more likely to be vulnerable to fuel poverty than other age groups. As the population ages, the demand from older people to be supported (in their own homes or in specialist housing) is likely to grow.


Email: Social Research

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