National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Health inequalities evident in new report

Health inequalities evident in new report

Wednesday, 31 Aug 2022
Demography News Release Image

The extent of the mortality deprivation gap and other types of health inequality are highlighted in a new report from National Records of Scotland. 

Data from ‘Scotland’s Population 2021’ shows the different outcomes that people face depending on their age, ethnicity, sex or experience of deprivation, and where the gaps are largest. 

The short report also looks at how existing health inequalities have been reflected in Covid-19 deaths, with older people who tend to have pre-existing health conditions more likely to die than younger people. 

People with disabilities have also been more likely to die with COVID-19. In particular, those whose daily activities were significantly limited by their disability were around three times as likely to die with COVID-19 compared with those whose activities were not limited.

Julie Ramsay, statistician and Head of Vital Events for NRS, said: “Mortality rates are about twice as high in the most deprived areas compared with the least deprived. But for some specific causes of death, we see much larger inequalities. For example, people in the most deprived areas of Scotland are more than 15 times as likely to die from drug misuse as those in the least deprived areas.

“That ratio has increased over the past two decades. In the early 2000s, those in the most deprived areas were around 10 times as likely to have a drug misuse death as those in the least deprived areas. In the last year, the gap has narrowed slightly.”
Scotland’s Population 2021 also touches on population change. If past trends continue, it is projected that by 2045, Scotland will have a smaller and older population. Growth from migration would no longer offset the growing gap between births and deaths. 

This report has been produced annually for 160 years and provides invaluable statistics to describe and provide further insights into how Scotland’s population is changing and some of the key challenges we face. It provides a unique opportunity for NRS to look at themes across all its reports.  These statistics play a vital role in supporting key policy and funding decisions, and informing broader public debate.

The report is available to read on this website.