Scotland is best-educated country in Europe

People in Scotland are among the best educated in the world. Picture: Donald MacLeod
People in Scotland are among the best educated in the world. Picture: Donald MacLeod
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Scots have the strongest sense of national identity in the UK, drink less regularly and are among the best educated people in the world.

The average Scot will also spend £116 a week on their mortgage, while one in eight has never used the internet, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Almost one in ten (9.7 per cent) people living in Scotland come from elsewhere in the UK, mainly England.

The figures emerged in a new compendium by the ONS which has been produced to inform the referendum campaign.

Joe Grice, ONS chief economic adviser said: “The purpose of the compendium is to place, where we can, comparable information about the four countries in the UK to bring together a resource to support public debate.

“Obviously, in the context of Scotland, it would be unrealistic to ignore the fact that there is a referendum going on here, which is relevant too.”

A unique insight into Scottish lifestyles is unveiled by the figures. In 2012 an estimated 9 per cent of Scots had drunk alcohol on five or more days in the last week – compared with 12 per cent in England.

The average spending in a Scottish household is about £437 – compared with £491 in England. The tax bill for the average home north of the Border is £7,056, which compares with £7,360 UK-wide, but is well above the level in Wales and Northern Ireland, where they pay about £5,600

Despite concerns about growing levels of child poverty, a lower proportion of Scottish children live in low-income households. The highest was in Northern Ireland and Wales at 23 per cent, compared with 18 per cent in England and 17 per cent in Scotland.

About 365,000 families in Scotland get working tax credits – 8 per cent of the UK total.

Scotland is the most highly educated country in Europe and among the best-educated in the world, the figures show.

More than two-fifths of people aged 25-64 in Scotland are educated to college and university level, outstripping Ireland, Luxembourg and Finland at the top of the table.

Mr Grice added: “In terms of the proportion of the population going into higher and tertiary education, Scotland actually has just about the highest in the world. Scotland also does very well in terms of people in the working-age population (16-64) that have a qualification at NVQ4 or above. Both of those are quite strong indications of a skilled workforce in Scotland.

“At the other end of the scale, the proportion of people of working-age population with no qualifications is highest in Northern Ireland (17.2 per cent), with Wales (10.6 per cent) and Scotland (10.3 per cent) not dissimilar and England (9.1 per cent) a bit below that.

“So, at the other end of the scale, Scotland doesn’t come out quite at the same top-of-the-class way as the other two 

The compendium also includes figures on “the Scottishness of Scotland”, revealing national identity is stronger north of the Border, with four-fifths (83 per cent) declaring their national identity as Scottish.

ONS deputy director of analysis, said: “We show the Scottishness of Scotland with 83 per cent identifying themselves as either Scottish or Scottish and something else, stating some degree of Scottishness in their national identity. That’s higher than the 70 per cent in England and 66 per cent in Wales.”

Scotland also has the lowest unemployment rate (6.4 per cent) of the four UK countries and the second-lowest level of public-sector employment at 22.1 per cent compared with 17.4 per cent in England.