What are the best and worst things about living in Scotland?

Matthew SmithLead data journalist
January 25, 2017, 12:14 PM UTC

Scots love their nation’s countryside and their fellow countrymen, but hate the weather

In celebration of Burns Night, YouGov has asked Scots what they consider to be the best and worst things about living in Scotland.

Best things about living in Scotland

Scots enjoy two things about the country far more than any other: the countryside’s natural beauty and Scottish people and society.

Of the two, Scotland’s natural beauty was the more popular. Slightly more than four in ten Scots (41%) spoke of how much they love Scotland’s countryside, scenery and wildlife, and how easily accessible they are.

Meanwhile, 37% of Scots said that their fellow countrymen and society in general are the best things about Scotland. Commonly mentioned was the friendliness and warmth of fellow Scots, as well as the national sense of humour.

(Please note, the results are not mutually exclusive – many people gave several ‘best things’ or 'worst things' about living in Scotland).

Positivity about Scotland’s countryside and people are both more widely held by the nation’s women than by its men. Whilst nearly half of women (49%) said the countryside was the best thing about Scotland, only 32% of men did – likewise, only 33% of men said that Scottish people and society are the best thing about the nation compared to 40% of women.

Scotland’s youth – those aged 18-24 – are also less enamoured with the countryside and fellow countrymen than their elders. They are instead more likely to favour Scottish culture, identity and tradition (22%, compared to 9% of all Scots). Being part of the wider UK was also more popular among young people (11%, compared to 3% nationally).

The better, more laid back quality of life to be had in Scotland was the third most commonly given answer overall, at 11%. The inhabitants of North East Scotland and the Highlands & Islands are especially pleased with their quality of life, with 19% and 23% respectively saying it was the best thing about Scotland.

Whilst Haggis would be traditional at any Burns Suppers taking place this evening, only two Scots mentioned it as one of their favourite things about the nation (the same number who said Irn Bru).

Worst things about living in Scotland

Scots resoundingly say that the weather is the worst thing about their homeland. In contrast to the 4% of Scots who think that the weather is the best thing about the country, as many as 39% say that it is the worst think about living in Scotland.

Perhaps because of their greater love of the Scottish outdoors, it is Scottish women who are more bothered by the weather (44%, vs 35% of men).

Just over a quarter of Scots gave some sort of political issue as the worst thing about living there. For 14% of people, Scotland is blighted by the SNP, nationalism and the threat of independence. Similarly, 10% of Scots think that the nation is being ruined by Westminster rule, Conservatives or the English in general.

A further 3% are bothered by other political issues – Brexit, for instance – or just politics and politicians in general.

Other common gripes include economic issues, poor infrastructure (particularly transport) and various forms of bigotry or xenophobia (including sectarianism and anti-English sentiment).

A special place in hell is also reserved by 2% of Scots for the infamous highland midge.

Photo: iStockphoto

See the full results here