Gaelic language not a hindrance to regional development in Scotland


In a recently published ECMI Research Paper, Craig Willis examines regional development at the council area level of Scotland, using the OECD Regional Wellbeing Index as a methodological framework.

Analysing data across eight topics including income, employment, education and life satisfaction, the research concludes that the three council areas of Argyll and Bute, Na h-Eileanan Siar and Highland consistently perform on par or above the national average in Scotland. Willis suggests that “this demonstrates that Gaelic language is not a hindrance to development and the three regions perform comparably to other remote council areas such as the Orkney and Shetland Islands.”

Whilst the research does not examine Gaelic speakers directly, it does demonstrate that the council areas in which speakers of the Gaelic minority language reside are not hindered by this fact. Oftentimes, the narrative around national minorities or speakers of a minority language in Europe is negative. This research paper offers some statistical evidence that this is not the case, and adds to previous research undertaken by the author in the context of the Baltic States.

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