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Summary: Religion and Income and Poverty

MoneySummary: Religion and Income and Poverty

  • At Great Britain level, Muslim and Buddhist groups appear to the lowest levels of wealth of all groups. However, this should be interpreted in the context of the much younger age profile of these populations.

Source: Wealth and Assets Survey 2006-08, as cited in EHRC Triennial Review: How fair is Britain? Chapter 12: Standards of Living


Area-based Deprivation

  • Within the 'Christian' group, people who recorded as 'Church of Scotland' (12%) were much less likely to live in deprived areas than those who identified as 'Roman Catholic' (23%).


  • People who stated they had no religion recorded a similar proportion living in deprived areas to the Scotland average.


  • 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.

Chart showing religious groups in Scotland by area of deprivation, 2011

  • Those who identified as 'Church of Scotland' recorded higher proportions in less deprived deciles, in contrast to those who identified as 'Roman Catholic', who had higher representation in more deprived deciles.


  • Those who stated they had no religion were fairly evenly distributed across the deciles.


  • 'Jewish', 'Sikh', 'Hindu' and 'Buddhist' groups all showed a relatively positive pattern, with higher proportions living in less deprived deciles and relatively low proportions living in more deprived deciles. Only the 'Muslim' group showed the opposite pattern, with higher representation in the more deprived deciles. However this group had higher than average representation in the least deprived decile.

Chart showing Religious groups in Scotland by SIMD decile, 2011

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


Useful Links

Religion Page

Income and Poverty Page

Publications and Outputs



Scottish Household Survey microdata is available (through a ‘special licence’ scheme) from the UK Data Archive.

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.

Poverty and Social Exclusion survey - an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded UK survey of the dimensions of relative poverty. The Scottish Government has funded a rural boost of the Scottish sample to enable better analysis of this rich data source. Analysis of the Scottish results by the Heriot-Watt and Glasgow University partners in the project were published in 2013.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Scottish Poverty Information Unit

Poverty Alliance

The Poverty Site

The Poverty Site, links to further analyses

Welsh Government 'An analysis on the impact of the UK Government's welfare reforms in Wales' (2013) - this paper focuses on those with protected equality characteristics.


Contact Details

If you have any enquiries relating to Equality and Poverty Evidence then please contact us at:




0131 244 3004


Equality and Poverty Analysis Team

Communities Analytical Services

Scottish Government

1F North

Victoria Quay

Edinburgh EH6 6QQ


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