A snapshot of the lives being led in today’s Scotland has been captured in a range of statistics giving an insight into the nation’s attitudes towards crime, finances and culture, as well as ethnic make-up, living arrangements and sporting activities.
The wide-ranging Scottish Household Survey, published by the Scottish Government’s chief statistician yesterday, found that just under half of Scots (48 per cent) are married and living with a spouse. The majority (96.3 per cent) were of white ethnic origin and 98 per cent described themselves as heterosexual.
Females outnumbered males (52 per cent to 48 per cent) and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most common nationality recorded was Scottish (78.8 per cent). When it came to ethnicity, the second most prevalent category was the 13.1 per cent who described themselves as “other British”. Next in line were 2.5 per cent categorised as Asian Scottish or Asian British.
One-third of households (34 per cent) contained just one person, a figure that was made up of 19 per cent single adults and 15 per cent single pensioners. Small families without children accounted for another third of households. Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of households were held by owner occupiers.
When asked about their neighbourhoods, more than half (55 per cent) of the 11,000 households surveyed for the report over the past year rated their surroundings as a very good place to live – a slight decrease from the 56 per cent recorded in 2011.
More than half (53 per cent) said they had not experienced any neighbourhood problems. But a growing number of people said they had issues with graffiti and vandalism – a rise from 11 per cent in 2011 to 11.5 per cent in 2012. A similar trend was observed when it came to those problems caused by rowdy behaviour (13.9 per cent to 14.5 per cent) and those complaining of drug misuse or dealing (11.7 per cent to 12.9 per cent).
The most widely reported instances of antisocial behaviour, however, concerned pets and litter louts. The report said: “The most prevalent problems are animal nuisance such as noise or dog fouling and rubbish or litter lying around, with 30 per cent and 29 per cent respectively saying this is very or fairly common in their neighbourhood.
“After rubbish and fouling, the most common issues fall under the ‘general antisocial behaviour’ category, with rowdy behaviour the next most prevalent.
“Up to 2010, there had been a trend of gradual improvements in perceptions of neighbourhood problems, with 2010 representing the lowest measures of problems for all categories.
“The past year has seen a slight increase for many of the categories. In particular animal nuisance such as noise or dog fouling has increased by over four percentage points, to 30 per cent in 2012.”
When it came to spare time, around three in ten adults undertook voluntary work, 90 per cent engaged in some form of culture and almost three-quarters participated in some form of sport, including recreational walking. But between 2007 and 2012, the number of golfers fell from 9 per cent to 6 per cent.
Encouragingly, there was also a decline in the number of smokers. The survey found that 23 per cent of people described themselves as smokers, down from 31 per cent in 1999.
Smoking was more popular with women than men, with 24 per cent of females and 21 per cent of males lighting up.
Just over a third (34 per cent) of households have at least one person with a long-standing illness, health problem or disability, but about three-quarters (74 per cent) of all adults described their health as “good” or “very good”.
The number of households with internet access has risen steadily from 40 per cent in 2005 to its current level of 76 per cent. Of those households with internet access, nine out of ten have broadband.
In general, Scots are feeling happier about their finances. By the end of last year, 47 per cent said they felt positive about their financial situation.
However, the number of Scots who described themselves as being in “deep financial trouble” doubled during last year, to two per cent between January and June last year.
More enjoying a sporting life
THOSE who take part in sport do so more often. Of men, 77 per cent, and 72 per cent of women participate in a sport.
The survey found Scots are taking exercise more regularly than they did in 2007.
In 2007, only 23 per cent of survey participants took part in sport on 22 to 28 days in the four weeks prior to interview. By 2012, this had increased to 28 per cent.
In contrast, the percentage of less-frequent participants has fallen over the period. In 2007, 41 per cent of participants were infrequent (on between one and seven days of the four weeks prior to interview). By 2012, this figure had fallen to 31 per cent of participants.
The number of recreational walkers increased from 56 to 59 per cent. But there was a drop in the number of footballers (nine per cent to seven per cent) and golfers (nine per cent to six per cent). Those enjoying a game of snooker, billiards or pool fell from nine to five per cent.
Sports participation decreased with age, although the gap between the amount of exercise done by younger participants has closed over the last few years.
The survey found that around 83 per cent to 84 per cent of adults aged between 16 to 44 participated in a sport in the four weeks before they were interviewed for the study.
The figure fell to 74 per cent for those aged between 45 and 59 and to 66 per cent for those aged between 60 to 74 respectively. It fell more sharply to 44 per cent of those aged 75 and over.
A driving optimism
SCOTS are driving more for the first time in five years, with new vehicle sales seeing their biggest surge in a decade.
Motoring groups interpreted the latest official figures as a sign of optimism for the economy, with the number of driving licence holders also at a ten year high.
The Scottish Government figures for last year showed traffic increased by 0.4 per cent in 2011 to 43.5 billion vehicle kilometres. Some 216,000 new vehicles were bought, with the 7 per cent rise the largest for ten years, although it remained below the peak of some 260,000 in 2006.
The total number of vehicles on Scotland’s roads increased by 1 per cent to 2.7 million – its highest ever, or one in six more than a decade ago. One in four households have at least two cars – the highest ever – although nearly one in three homes still have none.
Kevin Delaney, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “This is good news – a sign of the economy picking up, or at least a reflection of optimism and rising levels of confidence.”
More passengers flew abroad from Scots airports than took UK flights for the first time – 10.21m compared to 10.05m.
A total of 28 per cent of Scots travelled by train at least once a month.
A nation of culture vultures
Nearly a third of adults in Scotland went to a play or theatrical performance in 2012 while 31 per cent attended theatres or live music events in the 12 months leading to the Scottish Household Survey.
Overall, nine out of ten adults engaged in culture in 2012, either by attending or visiting a cultural event or place or participating in a cultural activity. Almost eight-in-ten adults (78 per cent) went to a cultural event or place, with the most popular being: the cinema for films such as Iron Man 3, pictured (54 per cent), live music events and plays (both 31 per cent), libraries (30 per cent), museums (29 per cent) and historical or archaeological places (28 per cent).
When cinema visits were excluded, the number of adults who attended a cultural event or place fell only slightly, to 70 per cent. The broad reach of the cultural activities on offer in Scotland was welcomed by culture secretary Fiona Hyslop, who said: “Cultural and creative activity are of enormous value to our overall well-being and Scotland’s rich and diverse culture benefits individuals and communities across the country. I am delighted these statistics show cultural attendance and participation figures in Scotland are at such a high level. From galleries and museums to theatre, live music and places of historical interest, I am pleased to see people enjoying these attractions.
“That 78 per cent of adults in Scotland took advantage of our rich culture in 2012 stands testament to the Government’s ongoing investment in culture. We have high hopes that, as a result of that investment, cultural engagement will continue to increase.”
The survey in numbers
• 22.9% of surveyed are smokers
• 29% angered by litter
• 30% angered by animal noise or dog fouling
• 98% heterosexual
• 78.8% describe themselves as Scottish
• 2.5% Asian/Scots or Asian/British
• 48% married and living with a spouse
• 26% do not have any savings
• 2% believe they are in deep financial trouble
• 31% went to theatre/plays/live music
• 76% of households have the internet.
• 6% play golf