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Statistics in more details

Summary: Ethnic Group Demographics

Detailed population estimates by ethnic group are available through Scotland's 2011 Census.

  • The size of the minority ethnic population in 2011 was just over 200,000 or 4% of the total population of Scotland (based on the 2011 ethnicity classification); this has doubled since 2001 when just over 100,000 or 2% of the total population of Scotland (based on the 2001 ethnicity classification) were from a minority ethnic group.
  • The Asian population was the largest minority ethnic group (3% of the total population or 141,000 people) and has seen an increase of one percentage point (69,000) since 2001;
  • Just over 1% (1.2% or 61,000) of the population recorded their ethnic group as White: Polish. The cities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen had the highest proportions at 3% of their total population.


2011 % of Total Population

% of Minority Ethnic


(rounded estimate)

African 0.6 14 30,000
Asian/Asian Scottish/Asian British 2.7 67 141,000
Caribbean or Black 0.1 3 7,000
Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups 0.4 9 20,000
Other ethnic group 0.3 7 14,000
White 96.0 n/a 5,084,000
All Minority Ethnic Population 4.0 100 211,000
All Population 100 n/a 5,295,000

Table note: Figures rounded to nearest 1,000 and sums may not total exactly due to this rounding


Minority ethnic groups by council area, Scotland, 2011

Chart showing ethnicity by Council area using 2011 Census data


  • In Glasgow City, 12% of the population were from a minority ethnic group, in City of Edinburgh and Aberdeen City it was 8% and Dundee City it was 6%. These areas also saw the largest increases since 2001 in the proportion of their population who are from minority ethnic groups.

Source: Scotland's Census 2011, Release 2A


Scotland's Annual Population Survey

Population information on Scotland’s ethnic groups is also collected in the Annual Population Survey. The ethnicity question for Scotland was changed in the Labour Force Survey from April 2011 to bring it in line with the 2011 Scottish Census data collection.

 Source:  Annual Population Survey (Jan to Dec) Table S4.3


  • In 2011, the 'White: Other White' (102,000 people), 'White: Polish' (61,000 people) and 'White: Irish' (54,000 people) groups were the largest, followed by the 'Pakistani' (49,000 people), 'Chinese' (34,000 people), 'Indian' and 'African' groups (33,000 and 30,000 people, respectively).

A tile chart showing non-White ethnic groups in Scotland, 2011

Source: Overview of Equality results from the 2011 Census Release 2 (2014)

Useful Links

Ethnicity Page

Demographics Page

Ethnicity Census output

2011 Census output

Follow the links below to get Ethnicity related interactive maps, charts, and data tables from Release 2A of Scotland's 2011 Census:

  • An interactive chart showing ethnicity in Scotland, in 2011, by council area.
  • An interactive map showing ethnicity in Scotland, in 2011, by council area.
  • Ethnic groups in Scotland, change between 2001 and 2011 - Excel, csv, PDF
  •  Ethnic groups in Scotland, 2011 (percentages)  – Excel, csv, PDF
  • White ethnic groups by council area, Scotland, 2011 - Excel, csv, PDF
  • Minority ethnic groups by council area, Scotland, 2011  - Excel, csv, PDF
  • Ethnicity at different output levels:

                  - Scotland (Excel, csv, PDF)

                  - Council Area (Excel, csv, PDF)

                  - Health Board (Excel, csv, PDF)

  • National level Ethnicity summary table:

                  - Ethnicity - Excel, CSV, PDF

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

NRS Scotland Statistics - A range of National statistics/Official publications are available on the National Records of Scotland website.

Scotland's Census 2011: Data Visualisation Tool - this interactive map lets users explore council area ethnicity statistics across Scotland.

Local Area Migration 2016 (NRS, August 2017) This tool gives access to migration data from a range of sources for council and NHS Board areas. Information is also available on the strengths and weaknesses of each data source, what each data source indicates, and links are provided for further information. Covers age, gender and ethnicity

Characteristics of migrants in Scotland: Analysis of the 2011 Census (October 2016) Compares characteristics (including Age) of migrants from European Economic Area (EEA) and non-EEA countries with the Scotland-born population and migrants from the rest of the UK.

Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census - Part 2 (March 2015) Brings together relevant statistics from the census and other sources to paint a highly detailed picture of equality in Scotland. The policy areas covered are Labour Market, Education, Housing and Transport. The BSL section contains data by age.

Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census (October 2014) Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census, including Ethnicity, Gypsy/Travellers, Religion, Disability and BSL and contains data by age.

Overview of Equality Results from 2011 Census Release 2 (March 2014) This paper provides further analysis of equality data originally released from the Census by the National Records of Scotland (NRS). It pulls this together into a user friendly format providing new analysis and insight, particularly around deprivation. The main equality strands included in the paper are ethnicity, religion and disability.

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Ethnicity Evidence Review (2013) A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to ethnicity.

2011 Census Releases (NRS) A summary of the 2011 census releases, with links to statistical bulletins. Age and gender is covered in releases 1A and 1B. Disability, ethnicity and religion is covered in releases 2A. Further detailed breakdowns are provided in release 3

External Links

External Links

Please note that you will leave the Scottish Government web site by clicking on any of the following links, and that the Scottish Government and its staff are not responsible for content external to this web site.

Office for National Statistics - Key Statistics and Quick Statistics for Local Authorities in the United Kingdom (2013) - This paper provides a comparison of 2011 Census results from Scotland, England and Wales, and Northern Ireland, includes ethnicity comparisons.

Migrant Roma in the UK - Research report - Researchers at Salford Housing and Urban Studies Unit have attempted to estimate the size of the Migrant Roma population in the UK. Their research suggests that Scotland has at least 3,000 migrant Roma individuals. UK level data indicates that the population of migrant Roma is predominantly urban and located in existing multi-ethnic areas.

The Economic and Social Research Council's Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) has produced an excel-based interactive profiler tool that allows users to create tailored census analysis using England and Wales data.



More up to date information is available, as well as data tables including time series information, from the National Records of Scotland website.

Scotland's Census Data Explorer - download data, charts and tables from the 2011 Census.

Future Developments

Future Developments

The first results from the 2011 Census have been published. More detailed data will become available in stages throughout 2014.

Select below for further information on:


Future publications

Beyond 2011




National Records of Scotland Customer Services: Statisticscustomerservices@nrscotland.gov.uk