Majority of Scots have ‘no religion’, Census reveals

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Inverness, Scotland.(Photo: Getty/iStock)

New data has been published in Scotland revealing for the first time that a majority of people in the country do not have a religion.

Data from Scotland’s 2022 Census is to be published across seven reports in the coming months, starting with the results on religion and ethnic groups released on Tuesday. 

The latest census asked Scots what religion they belong to. This was an optional question and only 6.2% chose not to answer it.

In response, over half of Scots (51.1%) said they had no religion, a significant increase from the 36.7% who said the same in the previous 2011 Census.  

‘No religion’ was the most common response across nearly all council areas, with the exception of Na h-Eileanan Siar (the Outer Hebrides) where ‘Church of Scotland’ was the most common response, and Inverclyde, where most chose ‘Roman Catholic’. 

Across the whole of Scotland, there was a steep drop in Scots who chose ‘Church of Scotland’, down from 32.4% in 2011 to 20.4% in 2022. 

The percentage of people in Scotland with a minority ethnic background rose from 8.2% to 12.9% in the same decade. The percentage of those who said Scottish was their only national identity increased from 62.4% to 65.5%, while the percentage who said they felt both Scottish and British decreased from 18.3% to just 8.2%.

Director of Census Statistics Jon Wroth-Smith said: “These statistics give a fascinating insight into religion, ethnicity, national identity and language use across Scotland and how they have changed over the years.

“It is exciting to publish the first of the topic releases and this, along with our other census data to come, will help local and central government, businesses and charities to plan services in the years ahead.”

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