Key facts

Too many people in Scotland are still trapped in poverty.

Poverty statistics in Scotland look at how the lowest income households compare with average income households. A household is considered to be in poverty if their income if less than 60% of the average income for that household type. A more detailed explanation can be obtained on the Scottish Government poverty statistics website.  We are using statistics for poverty after housing costs.

These statistics highlight the scale of the problem, however do not touch on how this impacts on the lives of those whose options are limited by living on a low income; organisations such as the Poverty Truth Community and our own Experts by Experience Panel aim to give voice to this and to highlight the detrimental effects of living on low incomes.

  • 1 in 4 children in Scotland (24%) are living in poverty.
  • 1 in 5 working age people (19%) in Scotland are living in poverty.
  • 14% of pensioners in Scotland are living in poverty.
  • 61% of working age adults in poverty and 68% of children in poverty live in a household where someone is in employment.

(source: Scottish Government poverty statistics)

We know that some groups of people have a higher risk of poverty than others.

  • In 2017-20, people from non-white minority ethnic groups were more likely to be in relative poverty after housing costs compared to those from the ‘White – British’ and ‘White – Other’ groups. The poverty rate was 41% for the ‘Asian or Asian British’ ethnic groups, and 43% for ‘Mixed, Black or Black British and Other’ ethnic groups.
  • The poverty rate amongst the ‘White – Other’ group was 24% and that of the ‘White – British’ group was 18%.
  • 38% of single women with children are living in poverty.
  • 23% of those who live in a household with a disabled household member live in poverty.

(source: Scottish Government poverty statistics)

There are high levels of inequality in Scotland.

  • In 2017-20 the top 10% of the population had 21% more income than the bottom forty percent combined. (source: Scottish Government income inequality statistics)
  • In the latest data from just before the pandemic a typical household in the wealthiest 10% of households had £1.7 million in total wealth, compared to £7,600 in the least wealthy 10% of households.  (source: Scottish Government wealth statistics)
  • In 2018-20, healthy life expectancy in the most deprived areas of Scotland was more than 24 years lower than in the least deprived areas. (source: National Records of Scotland)
  • Life expectancy for females is 10.2 years longer in the least deprived areas compared to the most deprived areas of Scotland, and for males that difference is 13.5 years. (source: National Records of Scotland)

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