by Mark Shucksmith and Jane Atterton

Key Facts

  • Population is growing faster in rural areas (15.6% in accessible rural from 2001-13) and even in remote rural areas (6.7%) than in urban Scotland (3.7%).

  • Most employment in rural Scotland is in the tertiary (service) sector. If the public sector is also included, services account for 66% of employment in remote rural and accessible rural areas.

  • Small and Medium Enterprises account for 66% of businesses in remote rural and 60% in accessible rural areas, compared to 34% in urban Scotland. Many are microbusinesses of fewer than nine employees (39% in remote and 31% in accessible rural areas).

  • Self-employment is around twice as common in rural Scotland as in urban Scotland, as is working from home. Half of women in remote rural areas work part-time in their main job.

  • Hourly rates of pay are lower in rural workplaces than those in urban Scotland.

  • Household incomes of residents in accessible rural areas tend to be higher than for those residents in urban or remote rural areas.

  • The income required by households to achieve a minimum acceptable living standard in remote, rural Scotland is typically 10-40% higher than elsewhere.

  • 432 private land owners own 50% of the private land in rural Scotland. In other words, half the country is owned by 0.008% of the population.

For the full chapter, please see: Shucksmith, M. & Atterton, J. (2017) Scotland's Rural Economies. In Gibb, K., Maclennan, D., McNulty, K., & Comerford, M. (eds) Scottish Economy - A Living Book. London: Routledge. Available via this link.