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4 Neighbourhoods and Communities

Main Findings

Over nine in ten adults view their neighbourhood as a very or fairly good place to live.

The majority of adults in Scotland (56.7 per cent) rated their neighbourhood as a very good place to live in 2016. Overall ratings of neighbourhoods have been consistently high since the SHS began in 1999. The proportion of adults who described their neighbourhood as very or fairly good in 2016 was significantly higher than in each individual year between 1999 and 2013.

Neighbourhood ratings vary depending how deprived the area is. Adults in less deprived areas are more likely to rate their neighbourhood as a very good place to live. This has been a consistent finding in recent years.

There is a large gap in neighbourhood ratings between those living in the most and least deprived areas, although the gap is narrowing over time.

Those in accessible or remote rural areas were more likely to describe their neighbourhood as a very good place to live than those in urban areas.

Most potential neighbourhood problems are not considered to be particularly common. In 2016, the most prevalent issue cited was animal nuisance (e.g. noise or fouling) which was reported as being very or fairly common by 31 per cent of adults.

Just under half (46 per cent) of all adults reported that they did not experience any neighbourhood problems in 2016, although this proportion has decreased since 2011. Those living in the 20 per cent most deprived areas are more likely to experience neighbourhood problems.

Just over one in twenty adults reported that they had experienced discrimination or harassment in the last three years. Younger people were more likely to experience this. Experiences also varied according to sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity and whether an individual had a long-term physical or mental illness. The most common reason cited as a motivating factor was the respondent’s ethnicity.

More than three-quarters (77 per cent) of all adults felt a very or fairly strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood in 2016, however this varied according to age, ethnic group and deprivation. The majority of adults in Scotland strongly agreed that they would assist neighbours in an emergency (75 per cent) and could rely on those around them for advice and support (63 per cent).

4.1 Introduction and Context

Improving the quality of life in Scotland’s neighbourhoods and communities is one of the Scottish Government’s five Strategic Objectives [37] : Safer and Stronger - help local communities to flourish, becoming stronger, safer places to live, offering improved opportunities and a better quality of life.

The Scottish Household Survey ( SHS) is one of the sources of evidence that can be used to assess the National Outcomes [38] associated with this overarching objective. It is used specifically to monitor one of the National Indicators associated with the Safer and Stronger objective: ‘Improve people’s perceptions of their neighbourhood’. In addition, the outcome ‘we live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger’ can draw directly on the findings presented in this chapter.

This chapter starts with an overview of public perceptions of their neighbourhoods. It then explores the perceptions and experiences of various forms of anti-social behaviour, before looking at experiences of discrimination and harassment. Finally, the chapter investigates how engaged people were with their local community in 2016.

4.2 Neighbourhoods

The section below explores how people view their neighbourhoods and their impression of how their local area has changed (if at all) over the last few years.

4.2.1 Overall Ratings of Neighbourhoods

  • Overall ratings of neighbourhoods have been consistently high since the SHS began in 1999, with over nine in ten adults viewing their neighbourhood as a very or fairly good place to live in each year. This proportion has steadily increased over time.
  • The majority of adults in Scotland rated their neighbourhood as a very good place to live in 2016.
  • Those in accessible or remote rural areas were more likely to describe their neighbourhood as a very good place to live than those in urban areas.
  • There is a large gap in neighbourhood ratings between those living in the most and least deprived areas, although the gap is narrowing over time. In 2016, just over three in ten adults in the 10 per cent most deprived areas of Scotland rated their neighbourhood as a very good place to live, compared to almost eight in ten of those living in the 10 per cent least deprived areas.

The majority of adults in Scotland (56.7 per cent) rated their neighbourhood as a very good place to live in 2016, as shown in Table 4.1.

Table 4.1: Rating of neighbourhood as a place to live by year
Column percentages, 1999; 2006-2016 data

Adults 1999 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Very/fairly good 90.7 92.0 92.4 92.5 93.6 93.5 93.9 93.7 94.1 94.4 94.6 95.0
Very good 49.4 51.1 51.7 53.1 55.0 55.4 55.9 55.2 55.2 55.8 56.3 56.7
Fairly good 41.3 40.9 40.7 39.4 38.6 38.1 38.0 38.5 38.9 38.5 38.3 38.3
Fairly poor 5.4 5.2 4.8 4.9 4.3 4.4 4.2 4.3 4.1 3.6 3.7 3.6
Very poor 3.4 2.4 2.4 2.4 1.8 1.8 1.7 1.7 1.5 1.7 1.4 1.2
No opinion 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.3 0.3
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Base 13,780 14,190 10,390 9,310 12,540 12,440 12,890 9,890 9,920 9,800 9,410 9,640

Overall ratings of neighbourhoods have been consistently high since the SHS began in 1999, with over nine in ten adults viewing their neighbourhood as a very or fairly good place to live in each year. This proportion has steadily increased over the years as shown in the above table, meaning the percentage of adults who described their neighbourhood as very or fairly good in 2016 was significantly higher than in each individual year between 1999 and 2013.

Whilst neighbourhoods were rated highly across the board, the strength of view varied by urban rural classification, with those in accessible or remote rural areas most likely to describe their neighbourhood as a very good place to live (69 per cent and 75 per cent respectively). In contrast, around half (51 per cent) of those in large urban areas rated their neighbourhood as being very good, as shown in Table 4.2.

Table 4.2: Rating of neighbourhood as a place to live by Urban Rural classification
Column percentages, 2016 data

Adults Large urban areas Other urban areas Accessible small towns Remote small towns Accessible rural Remote rural Scotland
Very/fairly good 94 94 97 97 98 97 95
Very good 51 55 60 56 69 75 57
Fairly good 43 39 37 40 29 22 38
Fairly poor 4 4 2 2 1 2 4
Very poor 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
No opinion 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Base 2,880 3,280 930 550 1,050 960 9,640

Neighbourhood ratings also vary by deprivation [39] , with the proportion of adults rating their neighbourhood as a very good place to live increasing as deprivation decreases, as found consistently over recent years (see Figure 4.1).

Figure 4.1: Rating of neighbourhood as a place to live by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
2016 data, Adults (minimum base: 860)

Figure 4.1: Rating of neighbourhood as a place to live by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

Just over three in ten adults (31 per cent) in the 10 per cent most deprived areas of Scotland rated their neighbourhood as a very good place to live in 2016, compared to almost eight in ten (78 per cent) of those living in the 10 per cent least deprived areas. That said, the proportion of those living in the 10 per cent most deprived areas describing their neighbourhood as very good has increased from 22 per cent in 2007 meaning the gap between the most and least deprived areas has narrowed over the last decade.

4.2.2 Neighbourhood Improvements

  • Overall just under two-thirds of adults reported in 2016 that they thought their neighbourhood had stayed the same over the last few years.
  • Perceived neighbourhood change was more likely in the most deprived areas.

Respondents were also asked whether and to what extent they thought their neighbourhood had changed in the preceding three years. Overall just under two-thirds of adults reported in 2016 that they thought their neighbourhood had stayed the same over the last few years.

However, as shown in Table 4.3 below, perceptions varied by deprivation with those living in the 20 per cent most deprived areas of Scotland less likely to believe that their area had stayed the same in recent years than those in the rest of Scotland. That said, the proportion of people in the 20 per cent most deprived areas who said their neighbourhood had stayed the same did increase from 51 to 56 per cent between 2015 and 2016.

Table 4.3: Perceptions of neighbourhood improvements in past three years by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
Column percentages, 2016 data

Adults 20% most deprived Rest of Scotland Scotland
Got much better 5 3 3
Got a little better 13 12 12
Stayed the same 56 67 65
Got a little worse 14 10 11
Got much worse 6 3 3
Don't know 6 5 5
Base 1,880 7,760 9,640

4.2.3 Neighbourhood Ratings and Fear of Crime

  • There is a clear association between people rating their neighbourhoods highly and feeling safe in their communities.

As discussed in section 1.3 (Comparability with Other Sources), much of the analysis in relation to perceptions and fear of crime, and confidence in the police that is published in alternative sources has been excluded from this year’s report. However, the SHS questions on fear of crime uniquely enable the link between neighbourhood ratings and feelings of safety to be explored.

Table 4.4 below shows a clear association between how adults rated their neighbourhoods and how safe they felt in their communities. For example, the majority of all respondents (86 per cent) said they felt very or fairly safe walking alone in their neighbourhood. However, this was true for just over a third (35 per cent) of adults who rated their neighbourhood as a very poor place to live, compared to 87 per cent of those who rated their local area as very or fairly good.

Table 4.4: Perceptions of safety when walking alone in the neighbourhood and in their home alone at night by rating of neighbourhood as a place to live
Column percentages, 2016 data

Adults Very/fairly good Fairly poor Very poor No opinion All
Walking alone
Very / Fairly safe 87 55 35 * 86
Very / A bit unsafe 12 45 63 * 14
Don't Know 1 - 1 * 1
Total 100 100 100 100 100
Base 8,770 320 110 20 9,230
At home
Very / Fairly safe 98 89 76 * 98
Very / A bit unsafe 2 10 24 * 2
Don't Know 0 1 - * 0
Total 100 100 100 100 100
Base 9,170 330 120 30 9,640

4.3 Neighbourhood Problems

4.3.1 Perceptions of neighbourhood problems

  • Continuing the trend seen over the last decade, the most prevalent issues cited in 2016 were animal nuisance (such as noise or dog fouling) and rubbish or litter lying around (which around three in ten people said was common).
  • Many perceived problems have been fairly stable in recent years, although the prevalence of some has changed over the last decade. For instance, the proportion of people citing vandalism/damage to property as a common issue has halved since 2006, whilst perceived animal nuisance has increased since 2009.

As well as asking respondents about their general views on their neighbourhoods and how it has changed, the SHS also collects information on perceptions and experiences of specific neighbourhood problems, such as anti-social behaviour. As with previous years, the nine neighbourhood problems which respondents were asked about can be categorised in four key groups as shown below.

General
anti-social
behaviour
Vandalism / graffiti / damage to property

Groups or
individuals
harassing
others

Drug misuse
or dealing

Rowdy behaviour
Neighbour
problems

Noisy neighbours/ loud parties
Neighbour

disputes
Rubbish
and fouling

Rubbish or
litter lying
around

Animal nuisance
such as noise
or dog fouling
Vehicles
Abandoned
or burnt out
vehicles

Perceptions of social problems overall are outlined in Table 4.5 which shows the percentage of adults describing each issue as very or fairly common in their neighbourhood over the last 10 years.

Continuing the trend seen over the last decade, the most prevalent issues cited in 2016 were:

  • Animal nuisance such as noise or dog fouling (which 31 per cent saw as very or fairly common); and
  • Rubbish or litter lying around (which 30 per cent said was very or fairly common).

Between 2015 and 2016 there were small but statistically significant increases in the proportion of people citing rubbish lying around and abandoned or burnt out vehicles as very or fairly common issues in their area. Perceptions of all other neighbourhood problems were stable between the last two sweeps.

Many perceived problems have been fairly stable in recent years, although the prevalence of some has changed over the last decade. For instance, the proportion of people citing vandalism/damage to property as common issue halved between 2006 and 2016, whilst perceived animal nuisance has increased since 2009.

Table 4.5: Percentage of people saying a problem is very/fairly common in their neighbourhood
Percentages, 2006-2016 data

Adults 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
General anti-social behaviour
Vandalism / graffiti / damage to property 16 17 15 14 11 11 11 10 8 8 8
Groups or individual harassing others 11 12 11 10 8 8 8 7 6 6 6
Drug misuse or dealing 12 12 13 12 11 12 13 12 11 12 12
Rowdy behaviour 12 17 17 16 14 14 15 13 12 11 11
Neighbour problems
Noisy neighbours / loud parties 8 9 10 10 10 10 12 11 11 10 10
Neighbour disputes 5 5 5 6 5 6 6 6 6 6 6
Rubbish and fouling
Rubbish or litter lying around 27 29 29 26 24 25 29 27 27 28 30
Animal nuisance such as noise or dog fouling - - - 24 23 26 30 31 31 31 31
Vehicles
Abandoned or burnt out vehicles - 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
Base 14,190 10,390 9,310 11,400 11,140 11,280 9,890 9,920 9,800 9,410 9,640

Columns may not add to 100 per cent since multiple responses were allowed.

4.3.2 Variation in Neighbourhood Problems

Deprivation

  • Those living in more deprived areas were more likely to perceive neighbourhood problems as very or fairly common.

The perceived prevalence of neighbourhood problems varies by deprivation. Table 4.6 shows that those living in more deprived areas were more likely to perceive each issue to be a very or fairly common problem. For example, there is a difference between adults in the 10 per cent most and 10 per cent least deprived areas in perceptions of rubbish or litter lying around (46 per cent compared to 19 per cent), drug misuse or dealing (30 per cent compared to 3 per cent), and rowdy behaviour (23 per cent compared to 5 per cent).

Table 4.6: Percentage of people saying a problem is very/fairly common in their neighbourhood by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
Percentages, 2016 data

10% most deprived 10% least deprived Scotland
Adults 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
General anti-social behaviour
Vandalism / graffiti / damage to property 20 13 11 9 7 4 4 3 3 4 8
Groups or individual harassing others 15 10 10 8 5 5 4 2 2 3 6
Drug misuse or dealing 30 23 19 16 10 7 6 3 3 3 12
Rowdy behaviour 23 19 17 12 12 8 5 5 6 5 11
Neighbour problems
Noisy neighbours / loud parties 18 16 13 12 13 7 6 4 4 5 10
Neighbour disputes 13 10 9 7 7 5 4 3 2 3 6
Rubbish and fouling
Rubbish or litter lying around 46 44 39 33 31 27 23 17 18 19 30
Animal nuisance such as noise or dog fouling 43 43 41 34 31 29 27 23 22 20 31
Vehicles
Abandoned or burnt out vehicles 3 3 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 1 2
Base 910 980 950 1,030 1,080 990 1,090 880 880 860 9,640

Columns may not add to 100 per cent since multiple responses were allowed.

Tenure

  • Neighbourhood problems are generally perceived to be more common by those who live in social rented housing.

Table 4.7 shows that neighbourhood problems are generally perceived to be more common by those who live in social rented housing compared to owner occupiers and private renters. For instance, drug misuse or dealing was most likely to be perceived to be a very or fairly common problem by those in social rented accommodation, with a quarter (25 per cent) citing it as regular issue compared to 13 per cent of those in private rented housing and 8 per cent of owner occupiers. In part, these associations further emphasise the link between social rented housing and deprivation.

Table 4.7: Percentage of people saying a problem is very/fairly common in their neighbourhood by tenure of household
Percentages, 2016 data

Adults Owner occupied Social rented Private rented Other All
General anti-social behaviour
Vandalism / graffiti / damage to property 6 14 9 6 8
Groups or individual harassing others 4 12 7 6 6
Drug misuse or dealing 8 25 13 11 12
Rowdy behaviour 7 19 18 8 11
Neighbour problems
Noisy neighbours / loud parties 6 19 15 8 10
Neighbour disputes 4 13 7 6 6
Rubbish and fouling
Rubbish or litter lying around 27 39 31 26 30
Animal nuisance such as noise or dog fouling 30 41 24 27 31
Vehicles
Abandoned or burnt out vehicles 1 3 2 3 2
Base 6,050 2,200 1,270 120 9,640

Columns may not add to 100 per cent since multiple responses were allowed.

Age

  • Perceptions of neighbourhood problems generally decrease with age.

Perceptions of neighbourhood problems generally decrease with age, as shown in Table 4.8 below. For example, those aged 16-24 were more likely than those aged 75 and above to view rowdy behaviour as a very or fairly common issue (reported by 18 per cent and 3 per cent respectively).

However, it should be noted that the association between age and the perceived prevalence of neighbourhood problems is not entirely linear across all of the issues considered, despite the general declining trend in reported prevalence with increasing age. For example, whilst one-quarter (25 per cent) of adults aged 16-24 reported animal nuisance (such as noise or fouling) as being very or fairly common, this was true for around a third (32 per cent) of those aged 25-34.

Table 4.8: Percentage of people saying a problem is very/fairly common in their neighbourhood by age of respondent
Percentages, 2016 data

Adults 16 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 59 60 to 74 75 plus All
General anti-social behaviour
Vandalism / graffiti / damage to property 9 11 11 7 6 3 8
Groups or individual harassing others 8 9 8 7 4 1 6
Drug misuse or dealing 13 13 14 14 10 6 12
Rowdy behaviour 18 16 13 11 7 3 11
Neighbour problems
Noisy neighbours / loud parties 14 15 11 9 6 3 10
Neighbour disputes 7 9 9 6 4 2 6
Rubbish and fouling
Rubbish or litter lying around 35 36 31 28 27 20 30
Animal nuisance such as noise or dog fouling 25 32 37 34 31 23 31
Vehicles
Abandoned or burnt out vehicles 2 3 2 1 1 0 2
Base 730 1,270 1,480 2,380 2,450 1,330 9,640

Columns may not add to 100 per cent since multiple responses were allowed.

Urban/Rural area

  • People living in urban areas were generally more likely to consider neighbourhood problems to be common, compared to those in rural areas.

Table 4.9 shows that adults living in urban areas were generally more likely to consider neighbourhood problems to be common, compared to those in rural areas. In particular, those living in large urban areas were generally most likely to perceive each issue as being very or fairly common, whilst those in accessible and remote rural areas tended to have the lowest levels of perceived prevalence.

Continuing the trend from recent years, the issue most commonly reported by those in large urban areas was rubbish or litter lying around (38 per cent), a problem only rated as very or fairly common by 21 per cent of those in accessible rural areas, and 14 per cent of adults living in remote rural areas.

Table 4.9: Percentage of people saying a problem is very/fairly common in their neighbourhood by Urban Rural classification
Percentages, 2016 data

Adults Large urban areas Other urban areas Accessible small towns Remote small towns Accessible rural Remote rural Scotland
General anti-social behaviour
Vandalism / graffiti / damage to property 11 8 5 8 3 2 8
Groups or individual harassing others 9 6 5 6 4 2 6
Drug misuse or dealing 14 13 11 20 6 5 12
Rowdy behaviour 14 12 8 15 4 7 11
Neighbour problems
Noisy neighbours / loud parties 13 10 8 12 4 4 10
Neighbour disputes 7 6 5 7 6 3 6
Rubbish and fouling
Rubbish or litter lying around 38 29 22 31 21 14 30
Animal nuisance such as noise or dog fouling 34 31 35 36 28 20 31
Vehicles
Abandoned or burnt out vehicles 2 1 1 1 1 2 2
Base 2,880 3,280 930 550 1,050 960 9,640

Columns may not add to 100 per cent since multiple responses were allowed.

Between 2015 and 2016 there were some changes in the perceived prevalence of neighbourhood problems across different areas. Most notably, there was an increase in the proportion of those living in remote small towns who perceived rubbish lying around and drug misuse or dealing to be common issues (increasing by 10 and 8 percentage points respectively).

4.3.3 Personal Experience of Neighbourhood Problems

  • Some problems were perceived to be common by a higher percentage of the adult population than had actually experienced the issue.
  • Nearly half of all adults in Scotland reported that they had experienced no neighbourhood problems in 2016, although this proportion has decreased since 2011.
  • Those living in the 20 per cent most deprived areas were more likely to report experiencing problems than those in the rest of Scotland.

The previous section examined perceptions of neighbourhood problems by a range of socio-demographic and geographic characteristics; this section will now focus on personal experience of neighbourhood problems.

It is important to note that it is not always necessary to have direct personal experience of an issue to know about it or perceive it as a problem in an area. For example, in the case of vandalism, a person may not have experienced vandalism to their property, but may have seen other vandalised property in their neighbourhood.

In addition, what respondents define as “experience” is related to their own perceptions, beliefs and definitions. For instance, one respondent may consider witnessing drug dealing as experiencing the issue, whilst another respondent may only report experience of this problem if they personally have been offered drugs.

Figure 4.2 compares the perception that a neighbourhood problem is fairly or very common with reported experiences of that problem in the previous year. It is notable that some problems were perceived to be common by a higher percentage of the adult population than had actually experienced the issue (with the reverse being true of animal nuisance). For example, 12 per cent of individuals believed drug misuse or dealing was a very or fairly common problem in their neighbourhood, yet only 6 per cent of adults reported that they had personally experienced this problem. That said, the relationship between experiences and perceptions was much more evident for certain neighbourhood problems (such as issues with neighbours like noise and disputes).

Figure 4.2: Perceptions and experience of neighbourhood problems
2016 data, Adults (base: 9,640)

Figure 4.2: Perceptions and experience of neighbourhood problems

Table 4.10, Table 4.11 and Table 4.12 present the proportions of people who said that they have experienced each of the neighbourhood problems broken down by area deprivation, housing tenure and urban rural classification respectively. These show:

  • 46 per cent of all adults in Scotland reported that they had experienced no neighbourhood problems in 2016, although this proportion has decreased from 58 per cent in 2011 and 49 per cent in 2015;
  • Those living in the 20 per cent most deprived areas were more likely to report experiencing problems than those in the rest of Scotland;
  • Adults in social rented accommodation were generally more likely than those in owner occupied and private rented house to say they had experienced neighbourhood problems; and
  • People living in rural areas were the most likely to report having experienced no neighbourhood problems in the last year.

Table 4.10: Experience of neighbourhood problems by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
Percentages, 2016 data

Adults 20% most deprived Rest of Scotland Scotland
General anti-social behaviour
Vandalism / graffiti / damage to property 10 4 5
Groups or individual harassing others 5 2 3
Drug misuse or dealing 12 4 6
Rowdy behaviour 14 9 10
Neighbour problems
Noisy neighbours / loud parties 15 8 10
Neighbour disputes 8 4 5
Rubbish and fouling
Rubbish or litter lying around 37 24 27
Animal nuisance such as noise or dog fouling 42 34 2
Vehicles
Abandoned or burnt out vehicles 2 2 35
None 36 49 46
Base 1,880 7,760 9,640

Columns may not add to 100 per cent since multiple responses were allowed.

Table 4.11: Experience of neighbourhood problems by tenure of household
Percentages, 2016 data

Adults Owner occupied Social rented Private rented Other All
General anti-social behaviour
Vandalism / graffiti / damage to property 4 7 8 3 5
Groups or individual harassing others 2 6 3 2 3
Drug misuse or dealing 4 12 8 5 6
Rowdy behaviour 7 13 16 10 10
Neighbour problems
Noisy neighbours / loud parties 6 17 15 5 10
Neighbour disputes 3 10 5 4 5
Rubbish and fouling
Rubbish or litter lying around 25 31 29 22 27
Animal nuisance such as noise or dog fouling 36 40 27 23 35
Vehicles
Abandoned or burnt out vehicles 2 2 2 4 2
None 49 39 46 61 46
Base 6,050 2,200 1,270 120 9,640

Columns may not add to 100 per cent since multiple responses were allowed.

Table 4.12: Experience of neighbourhood problems by Urban Rural Classification
Percentages, 2016 data

Adults Large urban areas Other urban areas Accessible small towns Remote small towns Accessible rural Remote rural Scotland
General anti-social behaviour
Vandalism / graffiti / damage to property 7 5 2 5 3 1 5
Groups or individual harassing others 3 2 2 4 3 2 3
Drug misuse or dealing 7 6 5 9 3 2 6
Rowdy behaviour 12 11 6 13 4 5 10
Neighbour problems
Noisy neighbours / loud parties 13 10 8 11 4 3 10
Neighbour disputes 5 5 3 8 5 6 5
Rubbish and fouling
Rubbish or litter lying around 33 25 19 33 21 18 27
Animal nuisance such as noise or dog fouling 37 34 38 47 33 29 35
Vehicles
Abandoned or burnt out vehicles 2 2 1 1 1 1 2
None 41 48 51 36 54 57 46
Base 2,880 3,280 930 550 1,050 960 9,640

Columns may not add to 100 per cent since multiple responses were allowed.

4.4 Discrimination and Harassment

  • In 2016, just over one in 20 adults reported that they had experienced either discrimination or harassment in Scotland at some point over the last three years.
  • Some groups are more likely than others to report having experienced discrimination or harassment in Scotland, younger people in particular.
  • A third (33 per cent) of respondents who reported that they had been discriminated against said that they believed the reason behind this was their ethnic origin.

The SHS explores whether respondents have experienced any kind of discrimination or harassment, in the last three years, whilst in Scotland. In 2016, just over one in 20 adults reported that they had experienced either discrimination (7 per cent) or harassment (6 per cent) in Scotland at some point over the last three years. At a national level, reported experiences of discrimination and harassment have been relatively stable in recent years, although the proportion of adults experiencing discrimination during the reference period decreased by 0.9 per cent between 2015 and 2016 [40] .

As in previous years, younger adults were most likely to have experienced either discrimination or harassment over the last three years, as shown in Table 4.13 below.

Table 4.13: Experience of discrimination and harassment by gender, age and level of deprivation
Percentages, 2016 data

Discrimination Harassment Base
Adults Yes No Yes No
Gender
Male 7 93 6 94 4,400
Female 7 93 7 93 5,240
Age
16 to 24 10 90 10 90 730
25 to 34 9 91 8 92 1,270
35 to 44 8 92 8 92 1,480
45 to 59 6 94 6 94 2,380
60 to 74 4 96 4 96 2,450
75+ 1 99 1 99 1,330
Deprivation
20% Most Deprived 8 92 8 92 1,880
Rest of Scotland 6 94 6 94 7,760
All 7 93 6 94 9,640

Table 4.14 displays the proportion of adults experiencing discrimination or harassment by a further range of demographic breakdowns: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, and whether the individual has a long term physical or mental health condition which has (or is expected to) last at least 12 months. It highlights that some groups are more likely than others to report having experienced discrimination or harassment in the last three years in Scotland (although small base sizes for some groups – such as ‘gay/lesbian/bisexual’ - means that estimates can have relatively large degrees of uncertainty around them and should therefore be interpreted with caution).

Table 4.14: Experiences of discrimination and harassment by sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion and long term physical/mental health condition
Row percentages, 2016 data [41]

Discrimination Harassment Base
Adults Yes No Yes No
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual/Straight 6 94 6 94 9,450
Gay/Lesbian/ Bisexual 15 85 17 83 120
Ethnicity
White 6 94 6 94 9,370
Other minority ethnic group 18 82 14 86 270
Religion
None 6 94 6 94 4,630
Church of Scotland 4 96 4 96 2,670
Roman Catholic 9 91 7 93 1,280
Other Christian 12 88 9 91 820
Another religion 18 82 11 89 240
Long term physical/mental health condition
Yes 9 91 9 91 3,330
No 6 94 5 95 6,280
All 7 93 6 94 9,640

Between 2015 and 2016, the proportion of adults with a long-term health condition experiencing discrimination in the previous three years decreased from 11 per cent to nine per cent. Experiences of discrimination over this period have also decreased amongst heterosexual adults, those of white ethnicity and people with no religion since 2015. On the other hand, the proportion of those in the ‘other Christian’ category reporting that they had been discriminated against during the last three years increased between 2015 and 2016.

Reported experiences of harassment were stable across all groups between the 2015 and 2016 surveys.

It is important to note that Table 4.13 and Table 4.14 do not show the reasons behind experiences of discrimination and harassment, which can be but are not necessarily related to the equality characteristics presented.

To explore this issue, adults who reported that they had experienced harassment or discrimination were asked what they think might have motivated this. Respondents were asked to provide spontaneous responses to these questions and where possible, the interviewer coded these answers into one of the main categories shown in Table 4.15 (e.g. age, disability, gender, and so on). As there were a wide range of options which adults could have provided (and the fact multiple reasons could be given), it was not possible to code every potential type of response in advance, which has resulted in high levels of ‘other’ reasons being recorded.

Table 4.15 shows that a third (33 per cent) of respondents who had been discriminated against believed the reason behind this was their ethnic origin. Aside from ‘other’ reasons, the next most common motivating factors were said to be the respondent’s age, disability or gender.

Of those who had experienced harassment, around a fifth cited their ethnic group as the perceived reason, with ‘other reasons’ being the most common response (39 per cent).

Table 4.15: Reasons for discrimination and harassment
Percentages, 2016 data

Adults Discrimination Harassment
Age 14 7
Disability 11 8
Gender 10 13
Ethnic group 33 19
Religion 7 5
Sexual orientation 5 4
Sectarian reasons 6 3
Other 15 39
Don't know 3 7
Refused 1 0
Base 570 530

Columns may not add to 100 per cent since multiple responses were allowed.

As in previous years, those who had experienced harassment or discrimination were more likely to say that they feel very or a bit unsafe walking in their local neighbourhood or at home late at night as shown in Table 4.16 [42] .

Table 4.16: Perceptions of safety when walking alone in the neighbourhood and in their home alone at night by experience of discrimination and harassment
Column percentages, 2016 data

Adults Have experienced harassment Have not experienced harassment Have experienced discrimination Have not experienced discrimination All
Walking alone
Very / Fairly safe 71 87 76 86 86
Very / A bit unsafe 29 13 23 13 14
Don't Know 0 1 1 1 1
Total 100 100 100 100 100
Base 510 8,710 550 8,680 9,230
At home
Very / Fairly safe 93 98 93 98 98
Very / A bit unsafe 7 2 6 2 2
Don't Know 0 0 0 0 0
Total 100 100 100 100 100
Base 530 9,110 570 9,070 9,640

4.5 Community Engagement and Resilience

  • Over three-quarters of adults felt a very or fairly strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood in 2016, a finding which has been very stable in recent years.
  • The sense of belonging to their community is stronger amongst older people, and also varies by gender, ethnic group and deprivation.
  • The vast majority of adults in Scotland reported that they would help their neighbours in an emergency and are also positive about the ability to call on others around them for support if need be.

4.5.1 Community Engagement

The SHS also seeks to explore how strongly adults feel that they belong to their immediate neighbourhood. Table 4.17 shows that 77 per cent of adults felt a very or fairly strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood in 2016, a finding which has been very stable in recent years.

However, whilst the majority of those in all categories shown said that they felt a very or fairly strong sense of belonging, it is important to note the variation in feelings by gender, age, ethnic background and deprivation. For example, almost nine in ten adults (87 per cent) aged 75 and above said they felt a very or fairly strong sense of belonging to their community, compared to around seven in ten (71 per cent) of those aged between 16 and 24.

Table 4.17: Strength of feeling of belonging to community by gender, age, ethnicity and Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
Row percentages, 2016 data

Adults Very strongly Fairly strongly Not very strongly Not at all strongly Don't know Total Base
Gender
Male 33 43 18 6 1 100 4,400
Female 37 42 15 5 1 100 5,240
Age
16-24 29 42 21 7 2 100 730
25-34 23 44 23 9 2 100 1,270
35-44 28 45 19 7 1 100 1,480
45-59 36 43 16 4 0 100 2,380
60-74 43 43 10 4 0 100 2,450
75+ 54 33 9 3 1 100 1,330
Ethnicity
White 35 42 16 5 1 100 9,370
Minority Ethnic Groups 21 43 25 7 4 100 270
Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
20% Most Deprived Areas 29 44 18 8 1 100 1,880
Rest of Scotland 36 42 16 5 1 100 7,760
All 35 42 16 5 1 100 9,640

Table 4.18 highlights that the vast majority of adults in Scotland reported that they would help their neighbours in an emergency and are also positive about the ability to call on others around them for support if need be, offering a slightly different perspective of community engagement.

Table 4.18: Involvement with other people in the neighbourhood
Row percentages, 2016 data

Adults Strongly agree Tend to agree Neither agree nor disagree Tend to disagree Strongly disagree Base
Could rely on friends/relatives in
neighbourhood for help
67 23 4 4 2 9,640
Could rely on friends/relatives in
neighbourhood to look after home
70 21 4 4 2 9,640
Could turn to friends/relatives in
neighbourhood for advice or support
63 23 6 5 3 9,640
Would offer help to neighbours in
an emergency
75 19 4 2 1 9,640

Conclusion

This chapter has explored people’s perceptions of their neighbourhoods and communities in Scotland. It has shown that the vast majority of adults in Scotland view their neighbourhood as a very or fairly good place to live. However, there is a large gap in neighbourhood ratings between those living in the most and least deprived areas, although the gap is narrowing over time.


Contact

Email: Emma McCallum, emma.mccallum@gov.scot

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG