Urban and rural poverty in Scotland

Nick Bailey, Glen Bramley and Maria Gannon

This report examines the PSE-UK 2012 survey results in Scotland, comparing levels of poverty and social exclusion in urban and rural areas and between remote and accessible areas; within the rural category. Using low income, deprivation and subjective poverty measures, it finds significant poverty in every kind of location, with on most measures, poverty highest in the large urban areas and lowest in remote towns with remote rural areas showing higher poverty than remote towns.

The report finds that contrary to concerns that low income poverty measures may underestimate poverty in more rural areas by failing to take account of differences in the cost of living, low income measures appear to overstate rural poverty compared with deprivation or subjective poverty measures.  People in urban areas report higher levels of indebtedness and other markers of financial stress, and lower quality of goods, none of which are reflected in income-based measures.

Looking at wider measures of social exclsuion, the PSE-UK survey provides strong evidence that access to services is worse in more rural or remote locations. Transport services, the basis for accessing many other services, were particularly poor in rural areas. However, using a multi-dimensiaonal measure of social exclusion, the report finds the most excluded individuals are over represented in large urban centres and under reprresented in remote areas.


Publication date: 
Mar 7 2016