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SCOTLAND'S DIASPORA

Whether you are a Scot living abroad, have developed a relationship through working, visiting or studying here, or have an affinity with Scotland’s heritage and culture, we hope this page will help you stay connected to Scotland and its diaspora.

Landscape

Scotland has a fascinating heritage. For centuries, Scots emigrated abroad, some through force and others in a search of a better life. These Scottish emigrants adapted to their new homes and local populations remarkably well, but at the same time maintained a strong sense of home.  

Many of these Scots went on to become established figures in their new homelands while many more left their legacy through sharing Scotland’s rich history, culture, and traditions. It is estimated that over 50 million people around the world claim Scottish ancestry today.

Children

Scotland’s diaspora has always wanted to stay connected to Scotland and each other. Across the globe, we see Scottish heritage being celebrated through St Andrew’s Societies, Burns Suppers, Highland Games and Clan Gatherings and many other activities and events. Our diaspora continue to do so much to promote Scotland and what it means to be Scottish.

Scotland is a dynamic nation full of opportunity and the 21st century presents new ways to stay connected to our diaspora communities. Whether you are a Scot who has moved abroad; have studied, lived or worked in Scotland for a time; have settled here permanently from another country; have ancestral ties to Scotland or just have an affinity for all things Scottish, we want to support you to stay connected to Scotland and to each other. You have done so much to build Scotland’s international reputation.

More information will appear on this site as we develop initiatives to better connect and engage with the Scottish diaspora across the globe. In the meantime, if you would like to find out more about the Scottish diaspora or being part of the Scottish diaspora, please use the web links on this page.

Diaspora Resources

Global Reach of Scottish Diaspora

For generations, Scots have travelled the globe and settled abroad, and Scotland itself is home to a vibrant mix of cultures and people from other places; emerging diaspora groups who enrich the lives of their local communities. In addition to the summary tables below, more detail can be found in Scotland’s Diaspora and Overseas-Born Population

Geographical distribution of Scotland’s lived diaspora (at the time of those countries’ most recent and previous Censuses)

Country of residence  

Place of birth: Scotland

Date of data*

Place of birth: Scotland

Date of data**

Scotland

4,410,400

2001

4,411,884

2011

England

794,577

2001

708,872

2011

Australia

130,204

2006

133,432

2011

United States

73,625

2007

64,847

2011-13

New Zealand

29,016

2006

25,953

2013

Wales

24,389

2001

24,346

2011

Ireland

16,863

2006

17,871

2011

Northern Ireland

16,772

2001

15,455

2011

Total

5,495,846

 

5,402,660

 

Total outside country of birth

1,085,446

 

990,776

 

Sources: *Scottish Government (2009) Scotland’s Diaspora and Overseas-Born Population and Census data for 2011, 2013.

Distribution of Scotland’s Population by place of birth 2011

Place of birth

Number of people

Percentage of Scotland’s total population

Number of males

Number

of females

United Kingdom

 

Scotland

4,411,884

83.32

2,134,508

2,277,376

 

England

459,486

8.68

226,426

233,060

 

Northern Ireland

36,655

0.69

17,631

19,024

 

Wales

17,381

0.33

8,845

8,536

 

UK not specified

713

0.01

465

248

Total born in UK countries

4,926,119

93.03

2,387,875

2,538,244

Republic of Ireland

22,952

0.43

9,970

12,982

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

1,662

0.03

764

898

Other Europe

 

EU countries

134,910

2.55

64,832

70,078

 

Non-EU countries

12,719

0.24

6,098

6,621

Africa

46,742

0.88

24,563

22,179

Asia and Middle East

104,530

1.97

53,418

51,112

North America

25,701

0.49

10,705

14,996

Central America

933

0.02

429

504

South America

4,665

0.09

2,049

2,616

The Caribbean

2,054

0.04

953

1,101

Antarctica & Oceania

12,408

0.23

5,785

6,623

Other

8

-

3

5

Total born outside the UK

369,284

6.97

179,569

189,715

TOTAL

 

5,295,403

 

2,567,444

2,727,959

             

Source: Scotland’s Census 2011, NRS, Country of birth (detailed), all people