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.

13 Arts, Culture and Language

There are high levels of cultural participation across the Scottish islands.

13.1 Cultural Participation

Most island residents report taking part in a culturally specific festival at least once a year or several times a year. Cultural participation is exceptionally high in the Shetland Mainland where over half (56%) of people report taking part in cultural festivals several times a year.

13.2 Indigenous Languages and Dialects

The majority of residents in Uist and Barra (69%), and Lewis and Harris (62%) report that they can understand Gaelic. Moreover, a significant minority of those living in Skye and the Small Isles (45%) and the Argyll Islands (29%) report that they can understand Gaelic.

Understanding of Scots on the islands ranges from 21% in Uist and Barra to 54% on Shetland Mainland. Understanding of local dialects is highest in the Shetland Outer Isles (91%) and Shetland Mainland (87%). Local dialects are also widely understood in the Orkney Mainland (85%) and the Orkney Outer Isles (78%).



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