We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

Content notice

This content is not being updated. Get information on the Scottish Government's equality and rights policies from https://beta.gov.scot.

Summary: Religion

The Scottish Government have published a guidance note on collecting information on religion or belief.

Religion SSCQ 2014

 

Business, Enterprise and Tourism
  • In 2011, the proportion of all people (16 years+) in employment who were self-employed was highest for the following religion groups: Jewish (28%), Sikhs (27%) and Muslim (26%). By comparison, self-employment rates were substantially lower for the following religion groups: No religion (12%), Hindu (11%) and Roman Catholic which had the lowest self-employment rate at 10%.

Source: 2001 Census, National Records of Scotland (NRS)

 

More facts on this topic: Religion and Business, Enterprise and Tourism Page

More equality characteristics for Business, Enterprise and Tourism: Business, Enterprise and Tourism Page

Children and Families
  • As at 31 July 2016, the religion of 77% of children on child protection registers was unknown, 15% had no religion and 8% had a religion.

Source: Scottish Government, Children's Social Work Statistics 2015-16 - Additional Tables

 

More facts on this topic: Religion and Children and Families Page

More equality characteristics for Children and Families:  Children and Families Page

Crime and Justice
  • Of charges with religious aggravations reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Services (COPFS) in 2012-13, 388 (56.5%) charges referred to incidents which were derogatory to Roman Catholicism and 199 (29%) were derogatory towards Protestantism. There were 80 charges which referred to conduct which was derogatory to Islam and 27 were derogatory towards Judaism.

Source: Religiously aggravated offending in Scotland 2012-13

 

  • Over half (51%) of offenders in custody in 2011-12 were either Church of Scotland (29%) or Roman Catholic (22%). Roman Catholics however make up only 16% of the population of Scotland. Forty percent of offenders in custody say they do not have a religion. This proportion of ‘no religion’ was higher for female offenders (50%) than male offenders (39%).

Source: Prison statistics and population projections Scotland: 2011-12

 

  • Offence aggravation data indicate that in 2015-16, 245 people were convicted in Scottish courts of an offence with an associated religious aggravation.

  • Over 79% of these were for charges of breach of the peace.

Source: Criminal Proceedings in Scotland, 2015-16 (Table 13)

More facts on this topic: Religion and Crime and Justice Page

More equality characteristics for Crime and Justice: Crime and Justice Page

Culture

Results on ethnicity should be treated with caution due to sample sizes.

  • In 2013, the percentage of adults who engaged in culture in the previous 12 months (i.e. those who attended a cultural event or place or participated in a cultural activity) was relatively similar between religious categories. Those with no religion had 92% cultural engagement, while Christians had 91% engagement. Those of another religion had 88% cultural engagement.

Source: People, Culture and Heritage in Scotland - Topic Report on results from the 2013 Scottish Household Survey

 

More facts on this topic: Religion and Culture Page

More equality characteristics for Culture: Culture Page

Demography

The Scottish Survey Core Questions estimated that:

  • In 2014, 52% of people in Scotland stated their religion was Christian. In comparison, 45% of people stated that they had no religion. The remaining 3% of people include Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan, Jewish, Sikh and ‘Another religion’ responses.  

Source: Scottish Surveys Core Questions, 2014.

Population information on Scotland's religious groups was also collected in Scotland's Census. The Census data is less recent than the SSCQ data, but it is a useful resource to use if data at a low level geography is required.

  • In 2011 just over half (54%) of the Scottish population stated their religion as Christian - a decrease of 11 percentage points since 2001, whilst 37% of people stated that they had no religion - an increase of nine percentage points.

Source: Scotland's 2011 Census, Release 2A (Table 7)

 

More facts on this topic: Religion Demographics Page

More equality characteristics for Demographics:  Demographics Page

Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning
  • In 2011, Hindus were the most likely to be highly qualified with (74 per cent of those aged 16+ having 'Level 4 and above' qualifications), while those who recorded as 'Church of Scotland' were the least likely (22 per cent). The overall figure for Scotland was 26%.
  • In 2011, those who recorded their religion as 'Church of Scotland' were the most likely to have no qualifications (35 per cent of those aged 16+) and those who recorded as 'Hindu' were the least likely (5 per cent). The overall figure for Scotland was 27%.

Source: Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census - Part 2 (2015)

 

More facts on this topic: Religion and Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning Page

More equality characteristics for Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning: Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning Page

Health, Social Care and Sport
  • In 2014, after the age distribution of religion groups is taken into account, most of the apparent differences in good/very good general health disappear. Only the lower than average rates for the "Roman Catholic" and "Other" groups are significant, at 72.5% and 70.4% respectively.

    Source: Scottish Surveys Core Questions (SSCQ) 2014

 

  • The Scottish Government collects information on the experiences of people in relation to healthcare services through the Scottish inpatient and primary care experience surveys. In the case of religion, in the inpatient survey there were some differences in the experiences of patients of different religions or beliefs compared to Church of Scotland patients: Church of Scotland patients were more positive. However the experience of Church of Scotland patients, Roman Catholics and other Christians were very similar.
  • In the primary care survey, there were differences in the experiences of patients of different religions or beliefs compared to Church of Scotland patients: Church of Scotland patients were more positive compared to the other groups. However differences were generally weak.  The experience of Church of Scotland patients and Roman Catholics were very similar.
  • Where there are differences, it is not clear how they can be explained, for example whether they can be accounted for by actual differences in the quality of care provided or different cultural expectations and perceptions between population groups or a combination of these factors. More details can be found in these reports.
  • Sources: Variations in the Experiences of Primary Care Patients: Analysis of the Scottish Patient Experience Survey of GP and Local NHS Services 2011/12

    Variations in the Experience of Inpatients in Scotland: Analysis of the 2010 Inpatient Survey.

 

More facts on this topic: Religion and Health, Social Care and Sport Page

More equality characteristics for Health, Social Care and Sport:  Health, Social Care and Sport Page

Housing and Regeneration
  • People who live in the private rented sector are more likely than other tenures to identify as having ‘no religion’, 57% as well as than the population as a whole 47%.
  • People who own-outright are more likely to identify as ‘Church of Scotland’ (42.4%) than the population as a whole (27.5%).
  • Single pensioner and older smaller households are the least likely of all household types to report having ‘no religion’: 24.3% and 28% respectively.

Source: Scottish Survey Core Questions, 2015.

 

  • Of all religion groups, Sikhs and Church of Scotland people are most likely to own their own home; over three quarters of those aged 16 and over in each group (76% and 74%, respectively).
  • Hindus are least likely to rent in the social sector, with only 9% renting from the Council, Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and Housing Associations. People of Christian religions are most likely to rent in this sector: 76% of people from the Church of Scotland and 68% of Roman Catholics.

Source: Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census - Part 2 (2015)

 

More facts on this topic: Religion and Housing and Regeneration Page

More equality characteristics for Housing and Regeneration: Housing and Regeneration Page

Income and Poverty
  • Of the other religions, Jewish people were the least likely to live in a deprived area (6%) and Muslim people the most likely (18%). Lower proportions of Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs lived in deprived areas than the Scotland average.

Source: Overview of Equality Results from the 2011 Census Release 2

 

More facts on this topic: Religion and Income and Poverty Page

More equality characteristics for Income and Poverty:  Income and Poverty Page

Labour Market

In Scotland in 2016:

  • the highest employment rates were seen for those with no religion (74.2%) followed by Christians (72.8%), Other religion (69.2%), Buddhists (68.5%), Hindus (61.9%) and Muslims (50.5%).The employment rate for Scotland as a whole was 72.9%.
  • Over the year, there were decreases in the employment rates for Hindus, Other religion and no religion.

Source: Annual Population Survey

 

More equality characteristics for Labour Market: Labour Market Page

Local Government
  • A slightly higher proportion of those of Other Religion (31%) agreed that they could influence decisions affecting their local area compared to Christians (25%) and No Religion (22%).

Source: Scottish Household Survey (2015)

 

More data on this topic: Religion and Local Government

More equality characteristics for Local Government: Local Government Page

Rural and Environment

In 2015, 52% of the Scottish population in rural areas reported currently having no religion. 47% of adults in rural areas reported their religion as Christianity: 29% Church of Scotland, 7% Roman Catholic and 11% other Christian.

 Source:  Scottish Household Survey 2015

 

More facts on this topic: Religion and Rural and Environment Page

More equality characteristics for Rural and Environment:  Rural and Environment Page

School Education

The only information collected on religion in the education sector relates to the denomination of the school. No information is collected on the religion of pupils or teachers.

  • In September 2016, 17.8% of pupils in publicly funded schools attended a Roman Catholic school. This is unchanged from 2015. 

  Source: Pupil Census Supplementary Data, Table 1.15

 

More facts on this topic: Religion and School Education Page

More equality characteristics for School Education:  School Education Page

Third Sector
  • In 2015, 52% of volunteers were of Christian faith, 45% of volunteers were not religious, and 4% of volunteers were of another faith.

Source: Scottish Household Survey (2015)

 

More facts on this topic: Third Sector Page

More equality characteristics for Religion and Third Sector:  Religion and Third Sector Page

Transport and Travel
  • Around a quarter (23%) of people aged 16 and over in households had no access to a car or van, two fifths (40%) had access to one car or van and the remaining third (36%) had access to two or more cars or vans.
  • Sikhs had the highest car access with the majority (52%) having access to two or more cars or vans. Hindus had the lowest car access, with over two fifths (42%) living in households with no access to a car or van.

Source: Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census - Part 2

 

More facts on this topic: Religion and Transport and Travel

More equality characteristics for Transport and Travel:  Transport and Travel Page

Publications and Output

Publications and Output

Scottish Household Survey 2015 (2016) - This report presents reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics (including religion) and behaviour of Scottish households, both nationally and at a sub-national level.

Scottish Household Survey Local Authority Tables 2015 (2016) - The SHS Annual Report presents reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics and behaviour of Scottish households at a national level. The SHS 2015 Local Authority Tables provide comparable information at sub-national level (including for religion).

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

Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2014 (2016) - Official statistics publication on equality groups across a range of measures from harmonised questions across the major SG population surveys. This publication provides statistics centred around protected equality characteristics and sub-national geographies: age and sex, disability, ethnic groups, religion, sexual orientation, country of birth, deprivation and Health Board/Police Scotland Division.

Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census - Part 2 (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.  Chapter 3 presents an analysis of religion in relation to these groups.

Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census (2014) - Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census, including Ethnicity, Religion, and Disability.

Overview of Equality Results from the 2011 Census Release 2 - 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: Religion and Belief Evidence Review (2013) - This evidence review was prepared to support the production of the Scottish Government's Equality Outcomes, with regard to religion.

The Position of Scotland’s Equality Groups. Revisiting Resilience in 2011 - Discussion and analysis to inform an understanding of how well positioned people in Scotland with equalities characteristics are to access the benefits of economic recovery. Chapter 3 includes an analysis of religion.

Experiences of Muslims living in Scotland 2011 - This is the final report of a study into the experiences of Muslims living in Scotland, with specific focus on experiences of discrimination and religious intolerance.

Analysis of Religion in the 2001 Census (2005) - The report explores the characteristics of each of the religion groups in Scotland using information collected from the 2001 Census in Scotland.

Data

Data

The Scottish Government website provides further information on accessing Scottish Household Survey data.

Annual Population Survey, Scottish Crime and Justice Survey and Scottish Household Survey microdata is available (through a ‘special licence’ scheme) from the UK Data Archive.

Scottish Health Survey - via UK Data Service.

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

Future Developments

Future Developments

Results from the 2011 Census have been published throughout the year. More detailed data is available on the census website data explorer.

Select below for further information on:

Planned 2011 Census output releases

Census

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. Any research has been carried out independently of the Scottish Government and the findings do not necessarily represent the views of the Scottish Government or Scottish Ministers.

Scottish Muslims in Numbers: Understanding Scotland’s Muslims through the 2011 Census - This report offers a timely analysis of some of the unique demographic trends of  Scotland’s increasingly diverse Muslim communities using 2011 and 2001 Census data.

How does personal well-being vary by sex, disability, ethnicity and religion?  (ONS, 2015) - Reports that different equality groups have different personal well-being ratings, reporting that some ethnic minority and religious minority groups reported lower personal well-being scores than others.

Equality and Human Rights Commission - Focus on Religion & Belief equality.

Government Equalities Office - The Government Equalities Office (GEO) is part of the UK Government and has responsibility for equality legislation in GB.

Interfaith Scotland - Supports interfaith dialogue on matters of religious, national and civic importance.