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This is an archived section of the Scottish Government website. External links, forms and search may not work on archived pages and content/contact details are likely to be out of date.

This page relates to the 2007 version of the National Performance Framework. Information about the current version of the NPF is available on the Scotland Performs Home Page.

SP Two columns

Current Status

In 2009/10, 17% of the Scottish population were in relative poverty (before housing costs) - this figure was unchanged since 2006/07.

More on poverty

National Indicator


Decrease the proportion of individuals living in poverty

Decrease the proportion of individuals living in poverty

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Why is this National Indicator important?

In order to create sustainable economic growth, with opportunities for all to flourish, Scotland needs to maximise its richest resource - its people. This means providing the opportunities and incentives for the whole population to contribute to and share in sustainable economic growth. This can only be done by decreasing the proportion who live in poverty.

Apart from the economic imperative, poverty places a blight on individuals' lives, on the communities in which they live and on society in general. Scotland is a compassionate nation with a strong sense of social justice and a belief in addressing the needs of the vulnerable. The Government believes it is morally unacceptable that 18% of Scotland's people live in poverty.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Poverty is a consequence of a complex and interrelated range of international, national, local community and individual factors. It is influenced by issues such as: the global economy; the UK tax and benefits system; national and local employment rates and wages; education and skills; family upbringing; health and disability; deprived physical environments; access to services; and transport.

What is the Government's role?

There are many drivers of poverty beyond the Scottish Government's control - including macro-economic conditions and a number of levers reserved to the UK Government, such as tax/benefits arrangements. However, the Scottish Government has a significant role to play in tackling the root causes of poverty through its policies in devolved areas such as education, health, skills, aspects of employability, housing, the criminal justice system and transport. The Government's role in setting and agreeing the key outcomes to be achieved in these areas; in targeting investment and passing legislation in pursuit of these outcomes; and in supporting local delivery bodies in meeting these outcomes, is key to delivering effective interventions which can tackle poverty and help make progress with this indicator.

How are we performing?

Between 1998/99 and 2004/05 the percentage of individuals in relative poverty (before housing costs) in Scotland fell from around 20 percent to 17 percent. Between 2004/05 and 2009/10 there was little change in this figure. In 2009/10 there were 870,000 individuals (17% of the Scottish population) living in relative poverty (before housing costs).

Relative poverty (before housing costs) in Scotland: 1999/00 - 2009/10

View data on poverty

Source: Department for Work and Pension's Family Resources Survey, Households Below Average Income datasets.


This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 1.0 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A decrease of 1.0 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas an increase of 1.0 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Further Information

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Statistics Topic Page

Who are our partners?

Local Authorities

Related Strategic Objectives


Safer and Stronger


Wealthier and Fairer


View National Indicator data

Downloadable document:

Data on National Indicator on PovertyData on National Indicator on Poverty [XLS, 30.0 kb: 18 May 2011]
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Performance Improving


Performance Maintaining


Performance Worsening

no info

Performance data currently being collected