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Summary: Religion and Rural and Environment

rural communitySummary: Religion and Rural and Environment

The 2011 Census showed that people from non-Christian denominations, who were more likely to be younger, were more likely to live in urban areas. In 2011, the majority of people from 'Muslim', 'Hindu', 'Sikh' and 'Jewish' religions lived in large urban areas (this corresponded to a high density of minority ethnic groups within these areas). There was a similar picture in 2001.

A majority (54 per cent) of 'Roman Catholic' people lived in large urban areas compared to less than a third (31 per cent) of people who identified as 'Church of Scotland'. A relatively large proportion of people who identified as 'Church of Scotland' and 'Other Christian' lived in rural areas (22 and 25 per cent respectively). These were the two religion categories which showed the oldest age profiles.

Chart showing current religion by urban-rural classification in Scotland in 2011.

Source: Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census (2014)


More recent population estimates by religion are also available through the Scottish Household Survey.

  • In 2016, 48% of the Scottish population in rural areas reported currently having no religion. 51% of adults in rural areas reported their religion as Christianity: 31% Church of Scotland, 8% Roman Catholic and 12% other Christian.
  • In 2016, Roman Catholics accounted for 17% of the population in large urban areas compared with just 6% in remote rural areas. Conversely, those identifying themselves as Church of Scotland accounted for 30% of the remote rural population compared 16% in large urban areas.
  • A larger proportion of people who reported their religion as other than Christian lived in urban areas compared to rural areas in 2016 (3% and 1% respectively).

Source:   Scottish Household Survey 2016


  • For people reporting no religion in 2016, 56% viewed climate change as an urgent and immediate problem. Among those who stated Church of Scotland, 52% of people viewed climate change as an urgent and immediate problem. The figure was 51% for Roman Catholics, and 64% for other Christian denominations.

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016


Useful Links

Religion Page

Rural and Environment Page

Publications and Outputs



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

Annual Population Survey and 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.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Scottish Natural Heritage

Special Study on Rural Poverty (SAC, 2008)

Statistics in more details


Rural and Environment