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News Release

Analysis of Religion in the 2001 Census

28 February 2005

A report exploring the characteristics of each of the religion groups in Scotland using information collected from the 2001 Census in Scotland was published today.

Analysis of Religion in the 2001 Census is an introduction to religion and does not represent a definitive analysis of religion. It does, however, cover the key areas of housing, education, labour market and health to help increase understanding of the different religion groups living in Scotland today.

The report forms part of the Executive's ongoing work to develop and publish detailed information for this dimension of equality.

Main Points:

  • Over a quarter (28 per cent) of people in Scotland who answered the current religion question stated that they had no religion. There are 65 per cent of people who identified themselves as Christian, making this the largest religious group. (This includes Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic and Other Christian)The second largest religious group is Muslim, despite accounting for less than one per cent of the Scottish population.

  • Age Distribution - Muslims have the youngest age profile with 31 per cent aged under 16 years.

  • Geographic Distribution - The minority religion groups tend to be concentrated in the large urban cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Nearly half (49 per cent) of the people of the Jewish religion live in East Renfrewshire.

  • Ethnicity - Two-thirds of Muslims (67 per cent) consider themselves to be of Pakistani origin. 86 per cent of Sikhs consider themselves of Indian origin, as do 82 per cent of Hindus. The most ethnically diverse religious group is Buddhism.

  • Education - Around 2 in 5 Sikhs (42 per cent) and Muslims (39 per cent) aged between 16 and 74 have no qualifications. This compares with around a third (33 per cent) of all people in Scotland (aged 16-74).

  • Labour Market - The Muslim unemployment rate is highest at 13 per cent, which is nearly double the overall unemployment rate for Scotland (seven per cent).

  • Health and Disability - Just over a quarter (26 per cent) of males and 29 per cent of females aged 75 and over report poor health. This varies considerably across the religion groups, with Hindi women and Sikh men (aged 75+) being most likely to report the worst health, 53 per cent and 45 per cent respectively of each group consider themselves to be in poor health.

  • Christian denominations - The Church of Scotland and Other Christian groups have an older age profile than Roman Catholics, with over 45 per cent and 40 per cent respectively, aged over 50, compared to 32 per cent of Roman Catholics. These differences in the age profiles may impact on other comparisons and should be considered when drawing any conclusions. A greater proportion of Roman Catholic families have dependent children (48 per cent); this compares with 39 per cent of Other Christians and 36 per cent of people from the Church of Scotland. Roman Catholics are much more likely to live in large urban areas (54 per cent compared to 33 per cent for Church of Scotland and 32 per cent for Other Christians).

The information presented in this report is based on the 2001 Census. Further information on Census data can be obtained from GROS STatistics Customer Services, using our Contact Form.

Issued by
Office of the Chief Statistician
Office of the Permanent Secretary
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh EH1 3DG

Page last updated: 14 February 2006

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