Uses made of Rural Scotland Key Facts

Rural Scotland Key Facts presents statistics on a broad range of topics, e.g. economy, transport, education and health, by an urban/rural geographic breakdown.

This document is part of a collection

Rural Scotland Key Facts presents statistics on a broad range of topics, e.g. economy, transport, education and health, by an urban/rural geographic breakdown. This note sets out the uses made of the statistics, as known to the Scottish Government.

A consultation was carried out in June 2010 to seek suggestions for new content for Rural Scotland Key Facts and investigate users’ needs. This note reflects the responses to the consultation as well as other uses that we are aware of.

Informing the public on the picture of rural Scotland and the performance of government

The publication is widely used to paint a picture of life in rural Scotland and to understand how it differs from the rest of Scotland. The publication is used for this purpose by the Scottish Government, local government, academic institutions and other public bodies, e.g. Archaeology Scotland.

Some of the statistics in Rural Scotland Key Facts relate directly to National Performance Framework National Indicators. Progress against the indicators can be observed for rural Scotland, although Scotland-wide targets would not necessarily be relevant for rural Scotland. The data provide a useful picture of rural Scotland with respect to key areas which have been identified by the Government as vital for achieving its Purpose.

The statistics relating to National Indicators are:


National Indicator

Figure 3 - Rating of Neighbourhood as a Place to Live

Increase the percentage of adults who rate their neighbourhood as a good place to live.

Table 8  - Crime Victimisation and Perception of Change in Crimes Rates Over Previous Two Years

Reduce overall crime victimisation rates by 2 percentage points by 2011.


Increase positive public perception of the general crime rate in local area.

Table 13 - How Adults Usually Travel to Work/Education

Increase the proportion of journeys to work made by public or active transport.

Table 18 - Whether Respondent Smokes

Reduce the percentage of the adult population who smoke to 22% by 2010.

Table 23 - Business Openings and Closures

Increase the business start-up rate.

Government decision making

The statistics presented in Rural Scotland Key Facts are used extensively for policy development and monitoring. Rural policy is mainstreamed across the Scottish Government, therefore the figures are used by a wide range of policy customers in addition to the Rural Communities and Rural Policy Team. Within the Rural Communities and Rural Policy Team figures are used to develop rural policy and to produce Ministerial briefing and speeches.

Rural Scotland Key Facts statistics are used to support rural policy direction. In 2010, The Rural Development Council provided advice to the Cabinet Secretary on how rural Scotland could best contribute to the Scottish Government Purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth. This took the form of the consultation “Speak up for Rural Scotland”. The three supporting evidence papers on demography, economy and access to services all made use of statistics from Rural Scotland Key Facts. The results from the consultation exercise were subsequently published in the Scottish Government policy document “Our Rural Future” in March 2011.

As well as being used by the Scottish Government, the statistics are also used by other public bodies for policy monitoring. Historic Scotland has a particular interest in rural issues as the majority of historic environment assets are based in rural areas. Rural Scotland Key Facts statistics are used by Historic Scotland to monitor and assess rural policy, as well as to keep themselves informed of rural issues in general.

The results of the consultation highlighted that the statistics are also used to monitor targets by local government and voluntary organisations.

Resource allocation

The statistics are used to allocate funds and resources mainly by local government but also by voluntary organisations. Specifically, Rural Scotland Key Facts is used in business planning by the Scottish Rural Churches Group, in order to consider what assets and services will be required in the future.

Supporting third sector activity

Rural Scotland Key Facts statistics have recently been used with reference to the recent paper “Our Rural Numbers Are Not Enough”. The report is a product of an Action Learning Set formed from members of the Tackling Poverty Rural Network. The paper is an independent position statement on the current availability of evidence on poverty, deprivation and income inequality in rural areas. Statistics on earnings, income and employment deprivation, work patterns, housing quality and access to services from Rural Scotland Key Facts were used in this report in the consideration of existing data sources and available data.

Facilitating academic research

Responses to the Rural Scotland Key Facts consultation indicated that the booklet was widely used in academic institutions, both within and outwith Scotland. The statistics are used for research purposes and also as a teaching tool at the University of the Highlands and Islands.


We are always interested to find out what use is being made of our statistics and how we can improve our standards of service. If you have any contributions or suggestions on how we can improve our statistics please contact us at:

Back to top