Economic conditions of crofting: survey 2019 to 2022

This report provides a detailed outline of the uses and financial situation of crofts in the years between 2019 and 2022.

8. Conclusions

The profile of crofters remains predominantly male, however the proportion of female crofters has continued to increase since 2014 (13%) and 26% in 2018, to 30% in 2022. The crofting population is more likely to be older, with 42% being aged 65 and over. 60% were brought up in a crofting family. 48% of crofters have been a registered crofter for more than 20 years, this is a marked decrease from 2014 (70%) and 2018 (65%). On the other hand, the proportion of respondents who have been crofting for less than five years has increased from 8% in 2014 to 11% in 2018 and 17% in 2022. Those who have been a crofter for 20 years or more were significantly more likely to be older crofters, with 70% of this group being aged 65 and over.

The majority of crofting activities are rooted in the traditional agricultural pursuits of livestock and crops – a similar picture to 2014 and 2018. However, while only small proportions use their croft for other activities, new activities of forestry and woodland creation (18%), biodiversity activities (8%), glamping/ camping (3%) and peatland restoration (1%) were all noted in 2022. These new activities were more likely to be carried out by crofters aged under 65.

The number of crofters who work only on the croft (22%) has not changed significantly since 2018.

In addition to agricultural activities, crofts are also used for a wide variety of other activities such as growing fruit and vegetables; growing trees; bed and breakfasts and holiday lets; and renewable energy production. 90% of crofters who responded had income from non-crofting sources. This was also the case in 2014 and 2018.

60% have invested in their croft with the average investment being £12,832. In 2018, 68% invested in their croft with average investment being £20,007.

Thinking to the future, an increasing proportion of crofters (62%, up from 48% in 2018) said that they planned to invest in their croft in the next four years, most commonly on livestock (52%).

Although planning to invest in the future, 92% of crofters agreed that crofting is not economically viable without household members supplementing income from non-crofting activities.



Back to top