Survey reveals differing views of one’s neighbourhood

A STARK contrast has emerged between the most prosperous Scots neighbourhoods and the least, when it comes to satisfaction levels among residents.

According to the latest Scottish Household Survey, from two years ago, in the 20 per cent least-deprived areas in Scotland, 81 per cent of households rated their neighbourhood as a ‘very good place to live’, whereas only 31 per cent did so in the 20 per cent most-deprived ones.

Indeed, in those most-deprived areas, some 11 per cent went so far as to declare their neighbourhood as an either fairly poor or very poor place to live.

The 2020 survey was conducted largely by telephone, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, researchers found differing sense of belonging, by tenure. Among owner-occupiers, some 81 per cent declared a fairly strong or very strong sense of belonging to the community, with the number dropping to 77 per cent in the social rented sector and 61 per cent in the private sector one.

When presented with a series of questions or statements, residents in the most-deprived areas were consistently less positive.

For instance, there was a 94-79 split between the least–deprived and most-deprived neighbourhoods on the question of whether people are kind to each other.

Elsewhere: 94-64 on whether people can be trusted, 62-52 on facilities to welcome newcomers, 71-55 on facilities to meet and socialise, 81-71 on people getting on well together, 76-53 on people taking action to improve their neighbourhood, 91-78 on people looking out for those who might be lonely, 92-82 on keeping an eye on one’s empty home, 82-70 on there being someone to turn to for advice, and 95-86 on being prepared to help out in an emergency such as a flood.

Among other findings:

Public services and institutions

  • 74 per cent of adults reported that they trusted the Scottish Government. Adults aged 16 to 24 were more likely to express trust in the Scottish Government than those aged 75 or over.
  • 88 per cent of adults were satisfied with local health services, 78 per cent with schools and 70 per cent with public transport. 61 per cent were satisfied with all three services. Satisfaction with public transport was lower in remote rural areas than in large urban areas.
  • 25 per cent of adults felt they could influence decisions affecting their local area.

Housing and community

  • 35 per cent of adults reported having felt lonely in the previous week. Loneliness was more common in younger adults, disabled adults and those from deprived areas and urban areas.

Money and resources

  • 64 per cent of households reported managing well financially. This was less common in more deprived areas, in rented households or if the highest income householder had been furloughed.
  • 61 per cent of households with a child aged under 12 said that it was very easy or easy to afford childcare.
  • 93 per cent of households had access to the internet. Internet access was lower in the most-deprived areas and among social rented and single pensioner households.

Volunteering, culture and physical activity

  • 64 per cent of adults had taken part in formal or informal volunteering in the previous year.
  • 44 per cent of adults had attended a cultural event or place of culture in the previous 12 months. Attendance was higher among younger adults, non-disabled adults and those in the least-deprived areas.
  • 83 per cent of adults had participated in a cultural activity in the previous 12 months. Participation was higher among women and those in the least-deprived areas.
  • 86 per cent of adults had participated in physical activity in the previous four weeks.


  • 80 per cent of adults felt that climate change was an immediate and urgent problem. This view was more common among younger adults and those in the least-deprived areas.
  • 68 per cent of adults lived within a five-minute walk of their nearest area of ‘green’ or ‘blue’ space (such as parks, woods, rivers or coasts). This was more common in remote rural areas than in large urban areas.
  • 79 per cent of adults visited the outdoors at least once a week. Disabled adults and those living in the most-deprived areas were less likely to do so.

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2020 – here – with an accompanying Scottish Government media release here.

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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