In our vision of a vibrant economy, people are healthy, active and positive, enabling them to make the most of opportunities.
Our health, wellbeing and happiness basket of measures takes into account a combination of physical indicators – such as sports participation, long-term sickness or disability, child obesity in year six – as well as mental health measures – such as happiness, anxiety, life satisfaction and life worthwhile responses to surveys. It also considers the number of hours the local population typically works.
The areas in Scotland that rank most highly in terms of health, wellbeing and happiness fall into two broad types (see map 1). The first is highly rural areas, including Orkney, Argyll & Bute, the Scottish Borders, Highland and Shetland. The second is areas that border the main cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. These include East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, Midlothian and Aberdeenshire.
Map 1 - How areas of Scotland perform against the Vibrant Economy Index health, wellbeing and happiness indicators
There are particular challenges in parts of West Central Scotland, with some areas ranking well below the national average. For several, these challenges are linked to wider issues of inclusion and equality and poor economic performance. The breadth and complexity of the issues at play underline the scale of the challenge facing those responsible for place shaping.