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Measuring inclusive growth in the Highlands and Islands: A typology


Jonathan Hopkins1, Nick Schurch2, Andy Sarjeant3, Catherine MacNeil3, Mags Currie1, Eilidh MacDonald3, Rachel Forrest3, Heather Smith3, Robin Clarke3

1 Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Department, The James Hutton Institute; 2 Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland; 3 Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The ToWards Inclusive Growth project was funded by the SEFARI Gateway Responsive Opportunity Initiative and the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) Division as part of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Portfolio. Views expressed are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Scottish Government or RESAS.

Key messages

• Building on longer-term strategic research on place-based policy, and a responsive, collaborative project in 2020, this report describes the creation of a detailed typology of inclusive growth performance, at the small area level, for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

• Collaboration between researchers, statisticians and practitioners developed a meaningful framework of inclusive growth for the Highlands and Islands, which included recognised themes of inclusion and prosperity and the geographical and social contexts of different locations.

• Indicator compilation and calculation attempted to control for the diverse geography of the Highlands and Islands by using custom geographical aggregation, where appropriate, and included measures of Covid-19 impact and a novel Data Zone-level estimate of economic output. The multivariate analysis produced scores for seven concepts underlying inclusion and prosperity performance, and these measures and key demographic characteristics were used to produce a nine-fold classification of Data Zones in the Highlands and Islands region, showing areas with similar characteristics related to inclusive growth.

• The differences between these clusters, in terms of characteristics of inclusive growth 'performance', geographical distribution and population change, are described. With further refinement, this research and the approach described could significantly increase the evidence base around inclusive growth and rural diversity in Scotland.


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