Catholics, Muslims and Polish people more likely to experience deprivation

Ethnic and religious minorities more likely to live in deprived areas. Picture: John Devlin
Ethnic and religious minorities more likely to live in deprived areas. Picture: John Devlin
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Roman Catholics, Muslims, white Polish and other ethnic groups are more likely to live in deprived areas than the Scottish population as a whole, according to major survey.

The Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2016, published by the Scottish Government, looked at the relationship between poverty, health and sections of Scottish society.

When the distribution of those categorised as the 20 per cent most deprived in society was looked at, it found almost two times as many Roman Catholics as those identified with the Church of Scotland were amongst the poorest.

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Almost 30 per cent of the Roman Catholic population fell in the most deprived category compared with 15 per cent of Church of Scotland worshippers.

Almost one quarter of Muslims (24.7 per cent) fell into the most deprived category. Thirty-five per cent of the Polish community found themselves in the most deprived category compared with 20 per cent of white Scots.

Last night Labour’s health spokesman Anas Sarwar described the findings as “troubling”.

Mr Sarwar said: “This is an important report that asks tough questions for policy makers in public health and equalities.

“Labour has long made the case for the link between deprivation and ill health, but many Scots may be surprised to see these figures for people from Catholic and Muslim communities.

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“More broadly, it is particularly troubling to see religious minorities are more likely to live in deprivation.

“Studies such as this show the importance of proper equality impact assessments of public policy.”

The survey also found that lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people are more likely to suffer from poor general health, long-term illness and lower mental well-being than heterosexual people, according to a new report.

Only 64 per cent of those identifying as LGB or another sexual orientation other than heterosexual reported good or very good general health, the document found.

This was significantly lower than the heterosexual group at 73.8 per cent.

People in the LGB and other group were more likely to report a long-term limiting health condition at 32.5 per cent, compared with 23.8 per cent for the heterosexual group.

They recorded a lower mental wellbeing score, at 23.8 per cent compared with 24.4 per cent for the heterosexual group.

The report also found smoking rates were higher among the LGB and other group, at 28.8 per cent - 9.6 percentage points higher than the heterosexual group at 19.2 per cent.

Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network, said: “It is really welcome that this kind of statistical data is now available.

It does say in the report that the statistics of LGB people needs to be treated with some caution, because a lot of LGB people don’t feel confident in identifying themselves as LGB.

“But having said that it does not surprise us that there is a statistically significant number of LGB people have poorer health and poorer mental health. There is other research showing that LGB people still experience significant discrimination and prejudice.

Other research shows us that one in three LGB people experienced some form of hate crime in the last year. This kind of discrimination has an impact on mental health and health in general. Some of the research describes this as `minority stress’. If you experience prejudice and discrimination it has a real impact on mental health and health.”

The SSCQ 2016 report provides detailed information on Scottish households across a number of topic including equality characteristics, housing, employment and perceptions of health and crime.

It gathered survey responses from around 20,000 people by collating data from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, the Scottish Health Survey and the Scottish Household Survey. In addition to its findings on the LGB community, the report also identified a link between deprivation and poorer health outcomes.

Only 62.1 per cent of the most deprived households across Scotland reported good or very good health, while this proportion rose to 82.9 per cent for the least deprived.

Meanwhile there was a “very clear correlation” between deprivation and long-term limiting health conditions.

The rate in the least deprived areas is around half that in the most deprived areas, at 16.5 per cent compared with 33.2 per cent.

The survey also found that around one fifth of adults in Scotland smoke. Between 2012-2016 there has been a clear reduction in smoking rates across all ages under 75, both genders and all levels of deprivation.

The “White: Polish” ethnic group has higher smoking rates than the Scottish national average. Smoking among the “Asian” group is lower than average, driven by a rate less than five per cent among Asian women.

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