ECMI Publications Database

#121: Regional Development Performance in Council Areas of Scotland with the Highest Percentage of Gaelic Speakers
Craig Willis
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Research on Gaelic language in Scotland has increased substantially in recent decades, as has Scottish regional development programmes following devolution. However, the overlapping of these two aspects remains limited, particularly in the context of regional development data available on regions where Scottish Gaelic speakers mostly reside. This Research Paper uses the OECD Regional Wellbeing index as a framework to measure regional development in Scotland at the level of council area, comparing this with its percentage of Gaelic speakers. Equivalent data for eight of the eleven OECD topics is analysed and the focus is placed on the three council areas with significant Gaelic speaking populations – Argyll and Bute, Na h-Eileanan Siar and Highland. The results show that these three regions consistently perform average or good across the eight topics measured, in comparison to the national average in Scotland. 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.

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