Research and data

Research: Community Councils

The 70 community councils in Scottish Borders are legally-recognised community groups of local people that were established under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. Their purpose is to represent their local area, consult with local residents and pass their views on to public bodies such as ourselves and NHS Borders.

In order to do this, community councils need access to small-area demographic and socio-economic data about their area. This page contains links and resources to help community councils gather the best possible information to represent their community.

For information about the activities of community councils, how to get involved and how to find your nearest one, visit our Community Councils webpages.

Research and data resources available about community councils

The quality and quantity of information about the population, the local economy, health and wellbeing and other topics about a community council area depends on how big an area it represents. For the larger community councils representing the main towns and villages, official demographic statistics are updated annually. For the smaller community councils that do not have a town or large village, the quality and quantity of the available information can vary. 

Decennial Population Census

All community councils, large and small, are represented in the decennial Population Census. This means that every community council has a population count update at least once every 10 years. The Census is very detailed and includes a wealth of information about the cultural identity, household structures, economic activity, health and travel-to-work patterns of people living in the community amongst many other topics. Community councils can use this information to monitor long-term demographic changes, such as:

  • how many people live in the community council area and what is the age structure compared with other areas?
  • what occupations and industries do people from my community work in, compared with other areas? 
  • are there enough people with a certain religious, gender or cultural identity, or language ability, to start a new community group?
  • How many people in my community are living alone, or with a long-term health or disability issue?
  • how dependent are people in my community on private or public transport to get to work and school?

All these questions and more can be answered by profiling the community using Census data, which is currently from the 2011 Census. Census data are free, but it can be difficult to identify the areas you need and to get the data out. If you would like a profile of your community council area, contact our Research and Information team using the contact information below.

Annual Official Small Area Statistics

Larger community council areas, that contain at least one town or village of at least 500 people, don't have to wait 10 years for the Census and can access updated information annually from a variety of sources for at least part of their community council area, using Data Zone geography. This information includes:

It is not always possible to get a completely accurate count of the population and characteristics of a community council area, even with Data Zones which are specially designed to represent neighbourhoods. This is because many rural community council areas have hamlets and farmsteads outside the settlement boundary that do not fit in the same Data Zone. Therefore, community profiles created from small area official Government statistics should only be taken as a guide.

Find out the current population estimates for community council areas in Scottish Borders and how well they fit into the nearest best-fit Data Zone.