Research and Data in Scottish Borders
We aim to make decisions on everything from corporate plans to community funding allocations based on the best possible evidence. We want to enable others to do the same.
Recent Demographic Reports and Statistics Releases
Government organisations provide many free resources that make it possible for us to use the latest evidence and intelligence to make better decisions about our area. Below is an ongoing list of recent (annual or less frequent) publications which contain information about demographics and socio-economic data that are relevant to Scottish Borders.
For datasets that are updated more frequently than once a year, including quarterly reports and weekly COVID-19 updates, please see the Demographic Statistics by organisation section.
Some of these resources, such as reports, infographics and news releases, are presented in an easy to understand, ready to use way. Others, such as data tables and small-area statistics, require knowledge of spreadsheets and mapping tools. If you are a Scottish Borders citizen, Community Planning partner or community group and need any free advice on how to get the best out of these resources, contact our research and information team and we will be able to help you.
- 11 May: Scottish Government published the first report on the Scottish Child Payment with statistics at Local Authority level. This is a top-up welfare benefit for families with children under six who are already in receipt of income-related benefits, in order to combat Child Poverty. A report on the impact of the Scottish Child Payment on the Scottish Borders is available to download.
- 30 March: National Records of Scotland (NRS) published its Electoral Statistics up until 1 December 2020, including the latest electorate figures for Scottish Borders Parliamentary Constituencies and Electoral Wards.
- 23 March: Nomis released the monthly update of the Claimant Count and ONS Jobseekers Allowance figures for February 2021. An updated Local Authority Labour Market profile featuring the latest information for Scottish Borders is available
- 16 March: NRS released thousands of volumes of historical records from its archived kirk sessions and court records of the Church of Scotland, containing details of key events in communities across the country between 1559-1900. These include many historical parishes in the Scottish Borders and can be browsed on the Scotland's People website
- 25 February: we released our Draft Anti-Poverty Strategy 2021 to tackle poverty in Scottish Borders. This includes the strategy and the evidence base: "A picture of Poverty in Scottish Borders", which contains useful information about poverty, inequality and deprivation in the region. The Draft Strategy will undergo a consultation period and any amendments and recommendations will be added to the Scottish Borders Anti-Poverty Strategy 2021 (final version). The Draft Strategy was approved by Council on Thursday 25 February (item 10), where you can also see the covering report and other supporting documents
- 23 Februrary: National Records of Scotland published their experimental data release of Homeless Deaths 2019 for Scottish areas. See information on what the evidence says about Scottish Borders
- February: Skills Development Scotland published their Regional Skills Assessment profile for Scottish Borders infographic. This 26-page easy-read downloadable PDF document includes information on the economy and labour market before COVID-19, and considers the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on Scottish Borders
- 28 January: National Records of Scotland published their Healthy Life Expectancy In Scotland 2017-19 Update for Scotland and Scottish areas. We also produced an insight into Healthy Life Expectancy in Scottish Borders for information about Scottish Borders from this release
- 26 January: NOMIS released their updated Annual Population Survey data and Local Authority Profiles with new figures for the October 2019 to September 2020 survey period
- 19 January: Scottish Government released the 2019 update to the Scottish Surveys Core Questions (SSCQ), which provides annual supplementary demographic data about the composition, characteristics and attitudes of Scottish households. Find out about the latest eveidence for Scottish Borders.
- 15 January: National Records of Scotland published their Electoral Statistics - March 2020 update for Scotland's Constituencies and council areas. Find out more about what this update means for Scottish Borders in the latest Scottish Borders electoral statistics, or find out more general information about elections and voting in Scottish Borders
- 14 January: National Records of Scotland published their Population by Country of Birth and Nationality, July 2019 to June 2020 update for Scotland and Scottish areas. Find out more about the evidence for Scottish Borders
- 15 December: National Records of Scotland published their annual update Drug-related Deaths in Scotland 2019 for council areas and Health Board areas. Find out more about the evidence for drug-related deaths in Scottish Borders
- 1 December: National Records of Scotland publised their statistics of Avoidable Mortality 2019 for Scottish areas. Find out more about what this says about Avoidable Deaths in Scottish Borders
- 6 November: NOMIS released an update to the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) to include provisional 2019 and revised 2018 estimates. BRES publishes employee and employment estimates at detailed geographical and industrial levels and is regarded as the definitive official government source of employee statistics by industry. Read more about the key findings for Scottish Borders
- 5 November: NOMIS released an update to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2020 (ASHE) to include new provisional results for 2020 and revised estimates for 2019. ASHE is a sampled survey of employee jobs taken from HMRC PAYE records and provides the best information on average earnings at Local Authority level.
- 6 October: National Records of Scotland published their Scotland's Population 2019: The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends. This includes a summary of all data for Vital Events, Population Estimates, Migration, Life Expectancy, Adoptions and Households for Scottish areas
- 29 September: National Records of Scotland published their 2018-based Household Projections for Scotland and Scottish areas
- 24 September: National Records of Scotland released their annual Life Expectancy in Scotland 2017-19 update for Scottish areas
- 15 September: Scottish Government published the 2019 Scottish Household Survey (SHS). The SHS is a range of evidence, collected by face-to-face and phone questionnaire, of the composition, characteristics and behaviour of Scottish households at a sub-National level. Outputs include key findings, the Annual Report, supplementary analysis and a Local Authority Data Explorer tool, which can be used to generate useful and easy-to-use PDF reports
- September: Scottish Government released the Scottish Health Survey (SHeS) Dashboard, an interactive tool to compare the results of the Scottish Health Survey between Scottish Local Authority and Health Board areas. The SHeS provides a detailed picture of the health of the Scottish people. This update contains key indicators for Scotland to 2019 and at NHS Health Board and Local Authority area level for the combined four year aggregate 2016-19
- September: our Corporate Policy and Information Team released the Scottish Borders COVID-19 Recovery Matrix and Index to provide a way to identify areas within Scottish Borders tha may need more support to recover from the wider impact of COVID-19
- 27 August: National Records of Scotland released their annual Mid-2019 Small Area Population Estimates for Scottish Data Zones. Data Zones are a small area geography that are used to measure demographics of local communities, and these population estimates are second only to the decennial Population Census in importance for community and locality work
- 25 August: Skills Development Scotland published their Annual Participation Measures 2020 (school leaver destinations) report and supplementary tables, which include data at Local Authority level
- 23 June: National Records of Scotland released their annual Vital Events Reference Tables for 2019. These are similar to the Registrar General's Annual Reviews but contain additional details
- 18 June: National Records of Scotland released their annual update Estimates of Households And Dwellings in Scotland, 2019 for Scottish areas
- May: We released the Scottish Borders Child Poverty Index 2019 (SB CPI 2019) to provide an evidence base for Child Poverty in Scottish Borders. The CPI is an experimental analysis which combines the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and internally-held measures, with a particular focus on child poverty in Scottish Borders
- 30 April: National Records of Scotland released their annual update Mid-2019 Population Estimates for Scotland and Scottish areas. The annual Mid-year Estimates are the definitive source ofpopulation information for Scotland apart from the decenial Census, that allow all Government and public organisations to understand their client base and manage their services. Mid-year Estimates for small areas (Data Zones) are normally released later in the year.
- 24 April: National Records of Scotland released their annual snapshot Electoral Statistics - Scotland 1 December 2019 for Scottish areas
- 24 March: National Records of Scotland published their 2018-Based Population Projections for Scottish Areas
- February: we released our Scottish Borders Strategic Assessment 2020. This is an evidence base which gives a snapshot of the current demographic and socio-economic situation of Scottish Borders, using the latest Official Statistics and some internally-produced data. It is used as a library of information which helps to inform the Scottish Borders Community Planning Partnership, Local Outcome Improvement Plans (LOIPs) and Locality Plans
- 28 January: Scottish Government's Chief Statistician published the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 2020. SIMD is a tool for identifying places in Scotland (down to Data Zone level) where people experience disadvantage across different aspects (domains) of their lives. SIMD gives a ranking for every Data Zone in Scotland and shows how relatively deprived it is compared with all other Data Zones in Scotland, including the 142 in Scottish Borders
- December: We published the latest Active Schools Participation in Scottish Borders school clusters, updated for 2018-19
- February: We published the 2018 Scottish Borders Household Survey (SBHS) to gauge customer perceptions on a range of social issues, and to gather information about their lifestyle and behaviour. Some of the questions mimic the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) and Scottish Survey Core Questions, and others are tailored more specifically to improving local service delivery. Unlike the SHS, the SBHS can give results at Locality (area partnership) level
- 25 February: Scottish Government released the Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS): Local Authority analyses to 2016-18. The SHCS is a sample taken from the Scottish Household Survey which asks detailed questions about heating and insulation, energy efficiency, disrepair and fuel affordability. It is the main source of informaton about Fuel Poverty and dwellings that fail the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by Local Authority area
The Director of Public Heatlh released the Scottish Borders Director of Public Health (DPH) Report 2018, in cooperation with NHS Borders and ourselves. This sets out the public health priorities that have been selected in a multi-agency agreement to improve the health of the Scottish Borders public.
Demographic Statistics by organisation
- Local Government Benchworking Framework (LGBF) is a high-level data server run by the Improvement Service to measure and compare performance-related information about Scotland's Local Authority areas. The searchable dashboard contains some useful demographic information about Scottish Borders
- National Records of Scotland (NRS) is a non-Ministerial Department of the Scottish Government that collects, preserves and produces information about Scotland's people and history. NRS is responsible for recording population and household data, Vital Events (Births, Marriages and Deaths), Census records and all public archives of people and property since 1801 or before. Apart from the annual publications releases listed above, it also records and publishes more frequent updates where necessary, including Quarterly Vital Events and Weekly COVID-19 updates
- NOMIS is the data observatory for Official Labour Market Statistics, provided by Durham University on behalf of the Office of National Statistics (ONS). It gives free access to the most detailed and up-to-date UK labour market statistics from official sources, from Country and Local Authority level to Scottish Data Zones. Its particularly useful products include Annual Population Survey/Labour Force Survey (APS/LFS), Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), the British Register and Employment Survey (BRES) and the Unemployment Claimant Counts and Rates, which are the official measures of unemployment for the UK
- Parentzone Scotland is a searchable dashboard providing information on Scotland's schools. Education Scotland is the national body for supporting quality and improvement in learning and teaching. The dashboard brings together performance, attainment and inspection reports on every school in Scotland
- Scotland's Census is the resource and data centre for the 2011 Census. The Census has been giving us a 10-year snapshot of the characteristics of our society and population since 1801. It prroduces a huge volume of highly accurate data, which show medium and long-term trends at any scale. Census data are essential for long-term change forecasting and management, as well as for adjusting the population figures used in everyday policy. Find out more about how Census data are used in Scottish Borders.
- ScotPHO OPT (Scottish Public Health Obseratory Online Profiling Tool) is a data observatory of health and wellbeing-related information in Scottish local areas. The data server contains hundreds of public health-related indicators, which are recorded and kept by the Information and Statistics Division of NHS Scotland. It is the first port of call for any health-related information at any level of geography from Scotland and Council level to Intermediate Datazone
- Scottish Borders Council Business Advice and Support Service publishes a number of products, including the regularly updated Economic Bulletin and Economic Information and analysis
- Scottish Borders Council Planning Department produces plans and research such as Employment Land Audit, Housing Land Audit, Retail Survey and Town Centre footfall
- Scottish Statistics Open Data Platform is the Scottish Government's Neighbourhood Statistics data server which brings together all available datasets of demographic, performance-related and socio-economic information at any area of geography from Scotland and Council Area to Data Zone. Many Scottish Government departments and data providers upload all their latest updates directly to the Open Data Platform, making it the first port of call for useful information
- Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is Scotland's National skills body for adults aged 16-19, which promotes skills attainment for economic development in Scotland. SDS produces data on Modern Apprenticeships, Annual Participation Measures (School leaver destinations) and the Employability fund
- Stat-Xplore is a data server tool run by Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to explore DWP Welfare Benefit statistics for the UK. Statistics for Scotland are usually available at Local Authority level. Access is free but registration and login details are required
Using official statistics and evidence to support policy
Although the products listed above are usually free to use to the public, they sometimes need a little know-how and knowledge of GIS software, spreadsheets and interpretation to get the best out of them.
Our research and information team helps our Community Planning partners and the public to use the official statistics and any other resources, including their own data, as management information to evidence policy and help make better decisions.
Why use evidence?
The Local Government In Scotland Act 2003 states that we should provide our services in a way that is transparent, robust, informed and accountable. This includes making use of information and guidance, wherever available. In addition, many of the policies and plans that we support are governed by statute. All Statutory functions we provide should be informed by a relevant evidence base. This requirement is reinforced by the Christie Commission on the Future delivery of Public Services, which provides a mandate for good practice in research and information for local government.
We also use research and data so that Scottish Borders can play its part in the Scottish Government National Performance Framework, which has 11 national outcomes:
- children and young people should grow up loved, safe and respected so they can realise their full potential
- economy should be globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable
- fair work and business with quality jobs and thriving, innovative businesses
- international reputation, we are open for business to the world and make a positive contribution
- communities should be inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe
- education should be effective in producing a well-educated and skilled adult population that is able to play their part
- health, wellbeing and physical activity are a priority
- tackling poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally
- culture should be vibrant, creative and diverse, through activities that express who we are and are widely enjoyable
- environment is valued, enjoyed, protected and enhanced
- human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled, and free from discrimination
All corporate policies, from the Corporate Plan to locality plans and service-specific strategies, begin with extensive research and analysis of the latest Official Statistics. To help us do this, we produce a Strategic Assessment every two years or so to give us an objective summary of the latest demographic and socio-economic trends in the region.
Free consultancy service
Anyone who lives and works in Scottish Borders can ask us to help them access official statistics to support their business needs, whether it be for a specific purpose such as a funding application, or whether they need to find out more about their local area for any other reason. This is a free consultancy service and we will endeavour to collate the information within the timescales as requested.
Community Profiling of Scottish Borders areas
As a by-product of all the Official Statistics we download and analyse, we can provide an Area or Community Profile on request, by pulling together information from all available sources into a ready-to-use report with maps, text, tables and graphs. This can be for any area in Scottish Borders and for any topic area, or a range of key indicators for a range of topic areas.
Scottish Borders areas can be any of the following:
- Scottish Borders region or Borders Health Board area (which share the same boundary)
- five area partnerships, also known as Localities
- six learning communities
- 11 Electoral Wards. See the 2017 Multi-member Ward Overviews that were compiled to assist incoming Elected Members following the May 2017 Council Elections.
- 26 towns and villages with a population of more than 500 people
- 30 Intermediate Data Zones
- 70 Community Councils
- 143 Scottish Data Zones
A Community profile can contain information on the following topics, subject to the information being available for your chosen geography:
- business and economic development
- economic activity, business, jobs, employment and unemployment
- children and early years
- school education, attendance and attainment
- health and wellbeing in children, adults and older people
- support for vulnerable children, adults and older people
- neighbourhood and communities
- inequalities, poverty and deprivation
- environment, energy and waste
- democracy and public services
- transport and traffic
If you would like further information at Council Ward level, contact our research and information team.