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Mapping Rural Socio-Economic Performance (SEP)

This page presents the findings of a Scottish Government funded exercise by staff of the Social Economic and Geographical Sciences Group (SEGS) of the James Hutton Institute to develop a multivariate index of socio-economic performance (SEP), at a micro-geographical level, for rural and small town Scotland, centred on the year 2011. This builds upon previous work (Thomson et al. 2014: funded by the Scottish Government Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) Strategic Research Programme (2011-2016)

It is anticipated that such an index will provide an improved understanding of the main dimensions of contemporary geographical variation in socio-economic characteristics, which in many (often subtle) ways are moving beyond twentieth century rural/regional development stereotypes. Refreshing the evidence base in this way will bring useful insights and tools for those responsible for the design and implementation of rural development interventions under the 2014-20 EU funding period, and the new LEADER programme in particular.

  • SEP Index final report - Executive Summary (full report published in 2015) Download
  • Infographics for the SEP Index values and Strategic Objective scores for data zones in rural areas and small towns. These include graphs which show average values/scores for different regions, based on the 8-fold version of the Scottish Government's Urban Rural Classification. (Please note that the analysis in the final report used the 6-fold version of this classification, and the Executive Summary does not therefore distinguish between "remote" and "very remote" types of rural area and small town).

    • SEP Index values (2011) Download
    • Strategic Objective score: Wealthier and Fairer (2011) Download
    • Strategic Objective score: Healthier (2011) Download
    • Strategic Objective score: Safer and Stronger (2011) Download
    • Strategic Objective score: Smarter (2011) Download
  • Data table 1 (SEPDATA.csv): data zone information and raw data for all data zones in Scotland. Download
  • Data table 2 (SEPDATA_RST.csv): data zone information, raw data, scores and SEP Index values for data zones within rural areas and small towns in Scotland. Download
  • Metadata: includes description of contents of the data tables, and details of how the Strategic Objective scores and SEP Index were calculated. Download

(Page updated: 10th August 2017)


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.