Scottish islands: data overview 2023

This report gives a snapshot of Scotland's island-level data as collated in the new Scottish Islands Data Dashboard and draws out key findings relating to each of the strategic objective topic areas set out in the National Islands Plan.


Why was the research needed?

Previously, there has been a lack of Scottish islands level data. The demand for Scottish islands data has grown since the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018. The Scottish Islands Data Dashboard delivers specifically on the commitment to help gather better island level data. Scottish islands level data is required for Island Community Impact Assessments (ICIAs), which are a statutory requirement under the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, as well as to monitor progress on the National Islands Plan strategic objectives. This new dashboard also responds to the desire from the Scottish Government’s Rural Affairs and Islands (RAI) committee to see greater detail on progress and performance against the Plan.

What did we do?

Key data sources have been selected for each of the strategic objectives outlined in the National Plan for Scotland's Islands (2019):

1. Population

2. Sustainable economic development

3. Transport

4. Housing

5. Fuel poverty

6. Digital connectivity

7. Health, social care and wellbeing

8. Environmental wellbeing

9. Climate change mitigation

10. Communities

11. Arts, culture and language

12. Education

Scottish island-level data has been compiled into an easy-to-understand dashboard. In some cases we transformed the data and presented it using the new Scottish Islands Region geography.

Key messages from the data dashboard have been summarised in this report.

The Rural Scotland Data Dashboard, which will be available shortly, will be published alongside a separate report giving a detailed picture of evidence on rural Scotland.

What did we learn?

The data presented on this dashboard demonstrates the diversity within and across Scottish islands. Compiling the available Scottish Islands level data gives evidence of both positive island attributes as well as challenges.

Next steps

The Scottish Government will continue to develop island level data sources and use these to monitor progress on the National Islands Plan strategic objectives and contribute to Island Community Impact Assessments (ICIAs).



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