Deprivation in rural Scotland: how can we use publically available data to understand poverty and disadvantage in remote and sparsely populated areas?

Jennifer Noall is a PhD student in the Institute of Geography and the Lived Environment at the University of Edinburgh, jointly funded by the ESRC, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Government and the Elizabeth Sinclair Irvine Bequest. Her research internship with the Scottish Government demonstrated how publically available data such as Scotland’s Census and the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) can be used by policy makers, Local Government and community organisations in order to better understand rural deprivation. This work was important in developing a clearer understanding of the issues which affect people living in rural areas in particular and how these can be better evidenced, is an important step in reducing deprivation across all parts of Scotland. Two case studies were published: Child poverty in the Orkney Islands and Fuel poverty in Dumfries & Galloway. These provided simple examples where organisations can source publicly available data, link their own administrative records, and conduct basic analysis in order to learn more about issues in their area. The case studies and an evidence summary on rural deprivation are free to download from the Scottish Government SIMD webpage: www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/SIMD/analysis

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