Research by the Scottish government suggests that the cultural attendance gap between those living in more deprived areas and the rest of the population is narrowing.
According to the Scottish Household Survey:
‘Cultural attendance in Scotland is on its way to becoming more equitable, official research by the Scottish Government suggests. The gap in attendance between adults living in the 20% most deprived areas and the 20% least deprived has fallen to its lowest in five years, to 15 percentage points – down from 18 percentage points in 2012, and 21 percentage points in 2014. The trend holds even when cinema visits, the most popular form of cultural attendance for people across the country, are excluded.’
See this graph:
The report does not directly attribute causes for this improvement. However, we must credit the school system’s success in increasing the number of pupils leaving with higher qualifications. The latter will inevitably expose young people to aspects of culture and either with or without organised school visits, lead to higher levels of interest.
A possible second explanation for this change might also lie in Scotland’s increasing affluence in the last two decades of devolved government. Increased economic capital leads to the opportunities for families to help their children acquire the cultural capital (museum visits, online access etc) which will serve them well in higher education and in employment. See:
Institute for Fiscal Studies reveals Scotland to have become more affluent than every other part of the UK bar the South-East of England and that much (most?) of this improvement has come under the SNP
Thirdly, the government of the day gets the blame for anything negative so it must get some of the credit for this progress if only by having enhanced young Scots’ sense of their cultural identity, around the referendum, by emancipating 16 year-olds, by promoting a Scots element in the History and English curricula and by having pushed all of these ideas into the forefront of mediated public debate to an extent not seen before.