Health Inequalities in Scotland: Trends in the socio-economic determinants of health in Scotland

Socioeconomic factors play a critical role in influencing health and health inequalities.

These socioeconomic factors include the pay, security and nature of the jobs that people do. They include households’ financial security, which influences the extent to which people are exposed to stress and anxiety, the time and resources people have to adopt healthy behaviours, and their ability to secure a decent standard of living generally. They also include the physical environment in which people live, both in terms of housing – poor quality or overcrowded housing can affect health in various ways – and neighbourhoods more generally (which influence opportunities for work, play and exercise, and exposure to pollution).

The aim of this report is to examine trends in key socioeconomic determinants of health in Scotland since 1999, the year of the establishment of the Scottish parliament. The report is based on six thematic chapters which examine trends in: the labour market; household income and financial security; education and social mobility; housing; public services; and neighbourhoods. A seventh chapter examines trends in socioeconomic determinants of health during the Covid-19 pandemic and the emerging cost-of-living crisis.

This work was initiated and funded by The Health Foundation.


David is Senior Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute



Emma Congreve is a Principal Knowledge Exchange Fellow and Deputy Director at the Fraser of Allander Institute. Emma's work at the Institute is focussed on policy analysis, covering a wide range of areas of social and economic policy.  Emma is an experienced economist and has previously held roles as a senior economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and as an economic adviser within the Scottish Government.

Ciara is an Associate Economist at the Fraser of Allander Institute. She has a broad research experience across different areas including poverty and inequality, the voluntary sector, health, education, trade, and renewables and climate change. Ciara has an MSc in Applied Economics (Distinction) and a first-class BA Honour’s degree in Economics and Finance, both from the University of Strathclyde.

Allison is a Fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute. She specialises in health, socioeconomic inequality and labour market dynamics.