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27 May 2014
Changing Scottish households highlighted

Changing Scottish households highlighted

A report into the changing shape of Scottish households over the past 10 years has revealed an almost 50 per cent rise in the number of children in care. Commissioned by Parenting across Scotland, an umbrella body for several high-profile charities, it highlights numerous changes to Scotland’s households and families but notes some aspects of family life remain similar.

The charity has called on “governments, policy makers, decision makers and anyone designing and delivering services in Scotland”, to use the report to best meet families’ needs, particularly where local specific information is available.

Clare Simpson, project manager, Parenting across Scotland, said: “This report is of major importance to anyone designing and delivering services in Scotland. The microscope is put on family formation, parents’ working patterns, from who cares for children, to whether they work part time, or full time, marriage rates, fertility rates, numbers of lone children, single parents. No stone is left unturned but it also shows gaps that need to be filled. 
“This study should be a driver for how services are shaped to ensure they meet the changing shape and needs of families.”

The report, which draws on 2001-11 census data, found marriage or civil partnered households decreased from 38 per cent in 2001 to 32 per cent in 2011, while the number of co-habiting couples increased.

Divorce rates were lower by seven per cent between 2001 and 2011, with a notable increase in the number of births registered to unmarried parents – 51 per cent in 2011 compared to 43 per cent in 2001. The proportion of people providing unpaid care to family members or friends remained stable but the number of hours increased. In 2011, 44 per cent of unpaid carers provided 20+ hours a week, an increase from 37 per cent in 2001.

In 2011, 74 per cent of working-age men and 64 per cent of working-age women were economically active, compared to 72 and 59 per cent in 2001, with women remaining more likely to be in part-time employment than men.

Simpson added: “The report throws up as many questions as it answers. It paints a picture of both stability and change. However, what’s really clear is families are juggling multiple responsibilities and providing large amounts of care while continuing to be active in the economy.”

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