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Summary: Disability and Rural and Environment

rural communitySummary: Disability and Rural and Environment

  • There is a roughly equal proportion of adults with a long term illness or disability living in rural areas compared to urban areas. In 2016, the proportion of people reporting having a long term health condition or illness was 27% in urban areas and 24% in rural areas. This proportion is despite the fact there is a higher proportion of older people living in rural areas and the prevalence of disability and long term limiting illness increases with age.

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

  • In 2016, an estimated 52% of all adults visited the outdoors at least once a week for leisure or recreation compared to 38% of adults with a long term health condition or illness.

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

Climate Change
  • In 2016 people with a long term illness or disability were less likely to view climate change as an immediate and urgent problem as people without (49% compared to 57%).

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


Useful Links

Disability Page

Rural and Environment Page

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.

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.

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



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 disability status


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.

Statistics in more details


Rural and Environment