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Scottish Social Attitudes

Man in kilt

The Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) Survey is an annual survey that has been run since 1999 – this year marked its twentieth anniversary. It is a face-to-face survey that uses a random sample of all those aged over 16 and living anywhere in Scotland, so it provides a robust and reliable picture of changing attitudes over time.

This year 1,022 people took part from across Scotland.

A variety of subjects are covered on SSA, including attitudes towards government and public services, violence against women and girls, how households organise their finances and attitudes towards minimum unit pricing. 

Key findings from this year’s Attitudes to government and political engagement report:

  • 61% of people said they trusted the Scottish Government to work in Scotland’s best interests, compared with 15% who said they trusted the UK Government to do so
  • Views were fairly evenly split on which government had the most influence over the way Scotland is run, with 40% saying that the Scottish Government did, and 42% saying the UK Government did
  • More people thought the Scottish economy had grown weaker (42%) over the last 12 months than thought it had grown stronger (17%), while 28% thought it had stayed the same
  • The majority of people were satisfied (65%) with how the NHS is running, while one-fifth (20%) were dissatisfied
  • Asked to choose what they thought the Scottish Government’s priorities should be in 2019, the three priorities selected most often were: to help the economy to grow faster (23%), improve standards of education (18%), and improve people’s health (17%).
  • A large majority thought it was important to vote in Scottish Parliament elections (94%), local council elections (91%) and UK Parliament elections (89%).

Latest reports

Findings from 2019

Attitudes to violence against women in Scotland

Attitudes to government and political engagement

Intra-household distribution of resources 

Previous findings

Findings from 2017

Attitudes to dementia

Attitudes to government, the economy and public services

Technical report

Findings from 2016

From Indyref 1 to Indyref 2: The State of Nationalism in Scotland

Scottish Social Attitudes 2016 - Attitudes to government and political engagement

Scottish Social Attitudes Technical Report 

Findings from 2015 

Attitudes to discrimination and positive action 

Attitudes to social networks, civic participation and co-production

Attitudes to the role of the Scottish Government presented in data tables.

A report on attitudes to Government, the National Health Service, the economy and standard of living 

2014 findings  

Attitudes to violence against women in Scotland 

Public Attitudes to Dementia (download separate executive summary)

Public Attitudes to Sectarianism in Scotland

Has the Referendum Campaign Made a Difference? 

Minding the gap – women’s views of independence in 2014 

2013 findings

Attitudes to Mental Health in Scotland (download seperate executive summary)

Core module – attitudes to government, the economy, health and social care services, and social capital in Scotland

Attitudes towards alcohol in Scotland

Who will turn up and who will stay at home?

So where does Scotland stand on more devolution? 

The score at half time: Trends in support for Independence  

The Undecideds: Don't care or deeply conflicted?

Is it really all about economics? Issues of nationhood and welfare

To view the data for 2013 please visit WhatScotlandThinks.

You can view earlier reports by year and by topic by following the links below. 


Scottish Social Attitudes is run by ScotCen Social Research and is made possible by the funding we receive from a variety of charitable and governmental sources each year.


Every year, we ask 1,200-1,500 people to take part in Scottish Social Attitudes on the basis of random probability sampling.

This technique ensures that everyone has an equal chance of being picked to take part, so the results are representative of the Scottish population.

And because we repeat many of the same questions over time, we're able to identify real changes in people's social attitudes.