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 17% of Scotland's people live in poverty.
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.
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 and mitigating the impacts 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.
Relative poverty before housing costs slowly fell since 1999/00 and remained stable at 17% from 2005/06 to 2009/10 before falling to 13% over the two years to 2011/12. It fluctuated in the following two years and has risen since then to 17% in the last two periods.
The data is available at the bottom of the page.
The poverty rate rose for children, working age adults and pensioners between 2014/15 and 2015/16. For children the rate increased from 17% to 19%, for working age adults it rose from 15% to 16% and for pensioners it rose from 12% to 13%. There are relatively few pensioners in poverty and so the increase in the indicator has mainly been caused by increases amongst working age adults and children.
Data on poverty rates for various groups of the population will be published on the poverty statistics website (http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Social-Welfare/IncomePoverty) on 12th June 2017.
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
Scotland Performs Technical Note
Safer and Stronger
Wealthier and Fairer