People living in the Highlands were often in abject poverty:
Demand for agricultural produce fell due to competition from abroad. New farming methods and increased technology meant less people were needed for farm work and no alternative work in industry existed for those living there.
Living conditions were poor in the slums of the industrial towns and cities. Working conditions were poor - people worked long hours and often in dangerous conditions. Wages were also low. Industries such as coal-mining and ship-building were hit by a lack of demand for long periods between 1830 and 1930.