A Positive Experience for People Coming to live in Scotland

This new National Indicator ‘A Positive Experience for People Coming to live in Scotland’ was added to the NPF following the 2018 refresh. It falls within the ‘International’ National Outcome, which sets out the ambition for Scotland to be “open, connected, and make a positive contribution internationally”.

This indicator is intended to measure one important dimension of migrants’ experiences in Scotland – a strong sense of belonging. The indicator shows the percentage of migrants who ‘very’/’fairly’ strongly feel they belong in their neighbourhood in Scotland.

For conceptual, methodological and data availability reasons, this indicator focuses on migrants’ experiences of coming to live in Scotland only. We will investigate the potential to gather visitor experiences data on a regular and sustainable basis through engagement with the Office for National Statistics, and consider adding tourists’ experience visiting Scotland to the indicator at its next review point.


This data is from a subsample of the Scottish Household Survey (SHS), a large continuous survey conducted throughout Scotland. The subsample includes those in SHS who reported being born outside Scotland, including the rest of the UK and overseas.  Data on the year of arrival in Scotland is only available for migrants from overseas, not from the rest of the UK. The SHS is a National Statistics product, and the Scottish Government are the owners of the data. It is published in the Scottish Household Survey Annual Report, which can be found here. An interactive data explorer for the SHS can be found here.

The indicator measures migrants’ sense of belonging based on the percentage of migrants who answered ‘very strongly’ or ‘fairly strongly’ when responding to the survey question ‘how strongly do you feel you belong to your immediate neighbourhood?’.

[SHS question name: COMMBEL]


For the purposes of this indicator ‘Migrant’ is defined as SHS respondents who report being born in any country other than Scotland. This includes those born in the rest of the UK and overseas.

Neighbourhood’ is defined as “the street you live in and the streets nearby” in urban areas, and as “the local area” in rural areas. 

Criteria for Change

  • Performance improving if there is a statistically significant increase compared to the previous year.
  • Performance maintaining if there is no statistically significant change compared to the previous year.
  • Performance worsening if there is a statistically significant decrease compared to the previous year.

In general, for there to be a statistically significant change on the previous year there would need to be a change of approximately +/-3.5%. However, this is subject to change over time due to variation in the size of the migrant subsample.

Future Issues or Reviews

In response to the Covid-10 pandemic, fieldworks for the SHS 2020 (to be published in early 2022) was not being undertaken face-to-face but either by phone or video chat over the smartphone, tablet or PC. This change of mode can affect the comparability of the data for 2020 with data collected prior to 2020. Data collected in 2021 will also be affected by the change of mode. In both cases, data will be published as experimental statistics on the SG website. Therefore, data from the years 2020 and most probably 2021 will not be able to be added to the time series or used to produce a performance arrow.

The decision to use 2019 data as the baseline will be reviewed in due course.

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