Information

Scottish household survey 2019: annual report

Results from the 2019 edition of the Scottish Household Survey, a continuous survey running since 1999 based on a sample of the general population in private residences in Scotland.

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4 Neighbourhoods and Communities

The majority of adults in Scotland (57 per cent) rated their neighbourhood as a very good place to live. This has remained relatively stable over the last 10 years. Over nine in 10 adults rated their neighbourhood as a very or fairly good place to live in 2019.

Neighbourhood ratings varied by area deprivation. Adults in the 20% least deprived areas were more likely to rate their neighbourhood as a very good place to live than those in the 20% most deprived areas (77% in the least deprived areas, and 32% in the most deprived areas). This gap has remained stable over the last decade. Those in accessible or remote rural areas (70 and 80 per cent, respectively) were more likely to describe their neighbourhood as a very good place to live than those in large and 'other' urban areas (50 and 55 per cent, respectively).

People were more positive about the people-based features of their neighbourhood (such as kindness and trust) and less positive about the physical aspects of their neighbourhoods (such as the availability of places to socialise and meet new people).

Over three-quarters (78 per cent) of adults felt a very or fairly strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood in 2019. This varied according to age, ethnic group and deprivation; sense of belonging was lower for younger people, ethnic minorities and people living in deprived areas.

Eighty-five percent agreed that they could rely on friends/relatives in their neighbourhood for support. The majority of adults in Scotland agreed that they would assist neighbours in an emergency (90 per cent), and could rely on those around them for advice and support (78 per cent).

In 2018, around three quarters of adults in Scotland (73 per cent) met socially with friends, relatives, neighbours or work colleagues at least once a week. Around one-in-five adults living in Scotland experienced feelings of loneliness in the last week, and this didn't vary by age. Although level of deprivation did not impact social isolation, as measured by the number of people meeting socially at least once a week, those living in the most deprived areas were almost twice as likely to experience feelings of loneliness as those living in the least deprived areas. Disabled people were more than twice as likely to experience loneliness as non-disabled people.

Forty-five per cent of all adults reported that they did not experience any neighbourhood problems in 2019. Those living in the 20 per cent most deprived areas were more likely to experience neighbourhood problems. The neighbourhood problems that were perceived as most common were 'animal nuisance' (32 per cent) and 'rubbish or litter lying around' (31 per cent).

Another Scottish Government population survey, the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS), also collects information on perceptions of a range of neighbourhood issues, including feeling of safety, how common specific crimes are believed to be in the local area, alongside respondents' views on neighbourhood cohesion and community support. As questions are asked in a different survey context, any similar measures should not be directly compared to SHS findings.

The majority of people (83%) said they felt very or fairly safe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark, and this is similar to when this question was previously asked in 2017. There is however a clear association between how adults rated their neighbourhood and how safe they felt in their communities. Eighty-five per cent of adults who rated their neighbourhood as very/fairly good, said they felt safe walking alone at night, compared with just 38% of adults who rated their neighbourhood as very poor.

One in 13 adults (8 per cent) reported that they had experienced discrimination and one in 17 (6 per cent) had experienced harassment in the last 12 months. Some groups were more likely than others to report having experienced discrimination or harassment in Scotland, for instance ethnic minorities, people who are gay/lesbian/bisexual and those who belong to a religion other than Christianity. The reasons cited as a motivating factor for discrimination include the respondent's sex/gender or nationality (both 16 per cent).

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS), also collects information on experiences of harassment and discrimination. As questions are asked in a different survey context, any similar measures should not be directly compared to SHS findings.

The majority of households in Scotland (65 per cent) reported that they have not thought about, or made any preparations for, events like severe weather or flooding.

Contact

Email: shs@gov.scot

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