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Statistics in more details

Summary: Religious Group Demographics

Population information on Scotland's religious groups is collected in Scotland's Census.

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

A chart showing changes in Scotland's religious composition between 2001 and 2011.Source: Scotland Census 2001 and 2011

  •  After Christianity, Islam was the most common faith with 77 thousand people in Scotland describing their religion as Muslim. This is followed by Hindus (16,000), people from Other religions (15,000), Buddhists (13,000), Sikhs (9,000) and Jews (6,000). Even with these groups added together they still accounted for less than 3% of the overall population.


2011 % of Total Population Number
Church of Scotland 32.4 1,718,000
Roman Catholic 15.9 841,000
Other Christian 5.5 291,000
Buddhist 0.2 13,000
Hindu 0.3 16,000
Jewish 0.1 6,000
Muslim 1.4 77,000
Sikh 0.2 9,000
Another Religion


All Religions 56.3 2,986,000
No Religion 36.7 1,941,000
Not Answered 7 368,000
All no religion/Not answered 43.7 2,309,000
Base 100 5,295,000

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


  • There was a 10.6 percentage point fall between 2001 and 2011 in the proportion of people reporting they had a religion.
  • This decrease occurred in every council area. Some of the more rural council areas experienced the largest falls; in Angus there was a drop of 14 percentage points. Many urban council areas in the west of Scotland experienced smaller reductions, with Inverclyde recording only a 5 percentage point drop in the proportion of its population reporting a religion.

A chart showing the change in religion by council area in Scotland between 2001 and 2011

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


Population estimates by religion are also available through the Scottish Household Survey.

Source: Scottish Household Survey (2014)

  • The largest number of religious marriages were carried out by ministers of the Church of Scotland, who conducted 4052 marriages in 2015.
  • The other religious bodies conducting more than 500 marriages in 2015 were the Roman Catholic Church (1438), the Humanist society of Scotland (3328) and Assemblies of God (524).

Source: Scotland's Population 2015 (The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends)


Useful Links

Religion Page

Demographics Page

2011 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 religion in Scotland, in 2011, by council area
  • An interactive map showing religion in Scotland, in 2011, by council area
  • Religious groups in Scotland, change between 2001 and 2011 - Excel, csv, PDF
  • Religion by council area, Scotland, 2011 (percentages) - Excel, csv, PDF
  • Religion (UK harmonised) at different output levels:

                   - Scotland - (Excel, csv, PDF)

                   - Council area - (Excel, csv, PDF)

                   - Health Board (Excel, csv, PDF)

  • Religion (Scotland) at different output levels:

                    - Scotland - (Excel, csv, PDF)

                    - Council area - (Excel, csv, PDF)

                    - Health Board - (Excel, csv, PDF)

  • National level Religion summary table:

                    - Religion - Excel, CSV, PDF

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

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

Scotland's Census 2011 - Release 2A - provides information on Scotland's Population, Ethnicity, Identity, Language, Religion, Health, housing and Accommodation.

Scotland's Census 2011 - Data Visaulisation tool - this interactive map lets users explore council area religion statistics across Scotland.

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Religion and Belief Evidence Review (2013) - A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to Religion and belief equality.



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