Access to essential services

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • Those living in rural locations are more likely to find access to essential services inconvenient than those living in either urban areas or towns.
  • For many services, those without cars are no more likely to find access to essential services inconvenient than those with cars.  Note that this finding, which is somewhat surprising, is very different than its equivalent for England.
  • People living in rural areas are among the groups least likely to make of use of demand-led information and leisure public services (including libraries, museums and sports/leisure facilities).  While people in ‘high income areas’, ‘middle income areas’ and ‘low income areas’ had used these services on average between 15 and 17 times a year, the figure for ‘country dwellers’ was only 13. 1
  • One outcome of retail exclusion is the relationship between the likelihood of having a healthy diet and deprivation.  While other factors contribute, inequalities in access to good quality retail facilities is at least a partial explanation for the fact that 32% of men in the most deprived areas 2 eat fresh fruit every day compared to 55% in the least deprived areas 3.

Definitions and data sources

This indicator examines perceptions of the convenience of local services, showing the proportions of those who found the services ‘fairly inconvenient’ or ‘very inconvenient’.  The services covered are grocery/food shop, post office, chemist, doctors, bank and outpatients.

In the first graph, the data is broken down by type of area, namely ‘urban’ (population 10,000 or greater), ‘small towns’ (population between 3,000 and 10,000) and ‘rural’ (population less than 3,000).

In the second graph, the data is broken down by the number of cars in the household.

The data source for both graphs is the Scottish Household Survey (SHS).  To improve its statistical reliability, the data is the average for the three years the latest three years.

Overall adequacy of the indicator: high.  The SHS is a large survey designed to be representative of private households and of the adult population in private households in Scotland.

External links

1. Bramley, G. and Ford, T., Painting a broader picture of local services in CRSIS Annual Review 2001, Edinburgh College of Art, 2001. 
2. Areas defined as most deprived according to the Carstairs and Morris index.  The index is composed of four indicators judged to represent material disadvantage: overcrowding, male unemployment, social class 4 or 5 and no car.  These four indicators are combined to create a composite score which is divided into 5 categories, ranging from very high to very low deprivation.  It is recognised as a broad measure of deprivation.  Data is organised according to postcode. 
3. Blamey, A., Hanlon, P., Judge, K., and Muirie, J., (eds.), Health inequalities in the new Scotland, Health Promotion Policy Unit and Public Health Institute of Scotland, 2002.