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.


What is the report about?

The Scottish Government recognises the contribution that crofting makes to the rural economy and rural communities. As part of this commitment to crofting, the Scottish Ministers are required (under Section 51 of the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010) to submit a report on the economic conditions of crofting to the Scottish Parliament every four years. This research informs the report to parliament. This report builds upon previous publications in 2014 and 2018.

What did we do?

Research Resource was commissioned to survey crofters. As of June 2022, there were 16,785 registered crofters listed in the Crofting Commission’s Register of Crofts. Of these, verified contact information was held for 12,409 crofters. Around a third (4,000) of those crofters were randomly selected to take part in the survey. Fieldwork took place between July and September 2022. A total of 942 surveys were received (24% response rate), which were representative of the population of verifiable and contactable crofters in terms of age, tenure and region.

What did we learn?

  • In general, crofters tend to be male, living in a two-person household and are aged over 55. Crofters were likely to have been involved in crofting for 20 years or more and were brought up in a crofting household. This is unchanged since 2014. However, the proportion of females has continued to increase over the eight-year period, rising from 13% in 2014 to 26% in 2018 and 30% in 2022.
  • Similar to the 2018 and 2014 surveys, raising livestock continues to be the most popular crofting activity (73%), this was also the case in 2018 (80%) and in 2014 (83%), although the proportion doing so has decreased. This is followed by growing crops (43%), and forestry and woodland creation (18%) which was a new question in the 2022 survey.
  • The median combined income from both crofting and non-crofting activities, minus business running costs, was £29,810, higher than the result from the 2018 survey (£29,000) and the median Scottish household income of £27,716.
  • 61% had invested in their croft in the last three years, a decrease from 68% in the 2018 survey. 62% had plans for investment which is up from the 48% reported in the 2018 survey and 55% in the 2014 survey.
  • The proportion of crofters with a succession plan in place has continued to increase with each survey, from 46% in 2014, to 47% in 2018 to 60% in 2022.
  • When asked about the sources of advice and support that crofters would use for crofting activities, the Crofting Commission, Commissioner or local Crofting Commission Assessor was the top response with 60%.
  • 28% of crofters had carried out peatland restoration, biodiversity activities and forestry and woodland creation activities in the 2019-2022 period and 34% plan to carry out these activities in the period 2023-2026.
  • Those who had been crofting for the least amount of time (three years or less) were most likely to have received public funding (81%).



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