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Summary: Age and Rural and Environment

rural communitySummary: Age and Rural and Environment


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Percentage age distribution of Population by Geographic Area, 2016

  Age distribution for large urban and remote rural areas 2016

  • Rural areas have a lower percentage of the population in the 16-34 age group but a higher proportion of people aged 45 and over. For example, in 2016 18% of the population of remote rural areas were 16-34 year olds. This compares to 20% in accessible rural areas and 26% for the rest of Scotland.

  • Conversely, 56% of the remote rural population were aged 45 and over. The comparable figures in accessible rural areas and the rest of Scotland were 50% and 45% respectively.

  •  In 2016 the proportion of people aged 65 or over was 20% in accessible rural areas was and 24% in remote rural areas compared to 18% in the rest of Scotland.

Source: Population Estimates by Urban Rural Classification 2011-16 (Last updated: August 2017)

  • Adults aged 75 and over were the least likely to visit the outdoors for recreation in 2016, compared to other age groups.

  • In 2016, 54% of those aged 16-24, 51% of those aged 25-34, 53% of those aged 35-44, 48% of those aged 45-59 and 47% of those aged 60-74 visited the outdoors at least once a week, compared with 32% of those aged 75 and over. Among the 75 plus age group, 34% did not visit the outdoors at all in the last year.

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016: Environment (Last updated: September 2017)


Climate Change

Perceived immediacy of the problem of climate change by age, 2016

Perception of Climate Change by Age 2016

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016: Environment (Last updated: September 2017)

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

Access to outdoor recreation by older people in Scotland (2016) This report details research on access to outdoor recreation for older people, covering age and disability

Mapping Flood Disadvantage in Scotland (2015) This research identifies and maps the neighbourhoods in Scotland that are most disadvantaged by flooding. It looks at the likelihood of an area being flooded and the socio-demographic characteristics of people who live there. The research found that whilst there are no simple equality patterns in those at risk of flooding, older people and disabled people were less able to cope during and after flooding events.

Rural Scotland Key Facts 2015 (2015) This booklet summarises key facts relating to the economy, transport, education, health and housing, comparing and contrasting remote and accessible remote areas with the rest of Scotland. Includes analysis by age, gender and deprivation.

Factors inluencing rural migration decisions in Scotland (2010) This study coordinates evidence of the factors influencing rural migration decisions in Scotland, and ascertains the implications for policy. It focuses on age/life-stage related factors.

The Experience of Rural Poverty in Scotland (2009) Qualitative research with single pensioners, single parents, disabled people, people with mental ill health, and migrant workers to examine whether and how the experience of poverty is distinctive in rural Scotland.

Drivers of youth out-migration from rural Scotland (2008) A review of the research literature to explore the key drivers of youth out-migration from rural Scotland. Considers age and gender

Growing up in rural Scotland (2008) This report uses data from the Growing up in Scotland ( GUS) study to explore what is distinctive about growing up in rural, remote and small-town Scotland in comparison with urban Scotland. Findings are based on the first sweep of GUS, which involved interviews with the main carers of 5,217 children aged 0-1 years old and 2,859 children aged 2-3 years old, carried out between April 2005 and March 2006.

Housing issues for older people in rural areas (2008) This think piece offers expert reflections on policy actions inferred from the evidence base on older people's housing and support needs in rural Scotland.

All Our Futures: Planning for a Scotland with an Ageing Population: 3 The Evidence Base (2007) Draws on a variety of quantitative and qualitative research and statistical data to bring together some of the key evidence on older people.

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Age Evidence Review (2013) A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to age equality.



Scottish Government Survey Data

Scottish Household Survey - The Scottish Government website provides further information on accessing Scottish Household Survey data

UK Data Archive - Annual Population Survey and Scottish Household Survey microdata is available (through a ‘special licence’ scheme) from the UK Data Archive

Official Statistics

statistics.gov.scot - Explore, visualise and download over 200 datasets from a range of producers. Start browsing by theme, organisation, or geography. Or access programmatically using our APIs. A range of datasets are available that can be broken down by age group


External Links

External Links

Please note that you will leave the Scottish Government web site by clicking on any of the following links, and that the Scottish Government and its staff are not responsible for content external to this web site. The research below has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers

External Publications and Outputs

Green health project (James Hutton Institute, 2014) This research explored relationships between green space and adult’s physical and mental health in urban areas, using a range of methods and disciplinary approaches. Results are available by age, gender and income/deprivation.

Special Study on Rural Poverty (SRUC, 2008) A literature review on poverty in rural areas. It explores the characteristics of living in poverty in rural areas and how it differs to living in poverty in urban areas and it identified the policy options and examples of success/good practice in moving people out of poverty in rural areas.

Statistics in more details


Rural and Environment