Updating the Scottish Humankind Index

Thorpe, Peter (2019) Updating the Scottish Humankind Index. Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary, 43 (3). ISSN 2046-5378

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The Humankind Index was developed in 2011 as a means of measuring wellbeing in Scotland beyond using standard economic measures like GDP. The Index consisted of 18 sub-domains encompassing a wide variety of factors such as health, access to good facilities, employment and job satisfaction etc. This paper constructs an updated index using modern data. Changes in data availability since 2011 have necessitated the selection of many new measures for the sub-domains. Tracking this new index over time shows total wellbeing has remained largely unchanged since 2013. There were large improvements in financial measures but decreases in satisfaction with public services and personal relationships. Separately, more limited indices were created for male and females, as well as the most deprived areas of Scotland. These show a small but persistent gender gap in favour of males and that deprived areas continue to lag behind the rest of Scotland in terms of wellnesss. Finally, there is still a need for more and improved data sources (and linking) to make the index more accurate and comprehensive.