A critical review of how poverty and social exclusion are experienced by children and young people in rural areas of Scotland.
- By Dr Jayne Glass, Rural Policy Centre, Scotland’s Rural College
- Commissioned by Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland
It has been estimated that rural poverty accounts for 16% of all poverty in Scotland, affecting approximately 160,000 people. Although many more people live in poverty in urban Scotland, the ‘rurality’ of poverty presents unique challenges that are not necessarily experienced by urban households.
The Scottish Government has set out ambitious targets for tackling child poverty. Under the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017, the country’s first Child Poverty Delivery Plan makes a clear commitment to eradicate child poverty in Scotland. It is encouraging that the Delivery Plan notes several factors that add a ‘rural dimension’ to poverty and social exclusion that may not be experienced by urban households. The costs of living, greater distance to services, the structure of rural employment and a lack of local childcare are mentioned as specific examples. The Plan also notes the ongoing investment in the Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland (CNS) programme, which is working to improve outcomes for children and young people in both urban and rural communities.
The purpose of this review is to inform the ongoing, place-based work of CNS in rural settings and wider policy developments within Scottish education. The review explores the following question: How are poverty and social exclusion experienced by children and young people in rural areas?
The report analyses and synthesises the findings of previous research in four sections, relating to:
- characterising poverty and social exclusion as experienced by rural children and young people
- the distinct challenges of growing up in a rural setting
- health and wellbeing of rural children and young people, and
- the factors that affect the agency of rural children and young people.
The review concludes with a conceptual framework for improving outcomes for children and young people in rural Scotland.
Cite this review as: Glass, J., Bynner, C. and Chapman, C. (2020). Children and young people and rural poverty and social exclusion: A review of evidence. Glasgow: Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland.
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