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Summary: Religion

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

Religion in Scotland 2016

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: Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census - Part 2 (Last updated: March 2015)

 

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 2017, the religion of 77% of children on child protection registers was unknown, 16% had no religion and 7% had a religion

Source: Children's Social Work Statistics Scotland 2016/17 (Last updated: March 2018)

 

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 2016-17, 384 (57%) charges referred to incidents which were derogatory to Roman Catholicism and 165 (25%) were derogatory towards Protestantism.

Source: Religiously aggravated offending in Scotland 2016-17 (Last updated: June 2017)

 
  • Half of people in custody in 2013-14 were either Church of Scotland (27%) or Roman Catholic (23%).
  • The proportion of ‘no religion’ was higher for female prisoners (57%) than male prisoners (41%).

Source: Prison statistics and population projections Scotland 2013/14 (More recent data is currently unavailable. Last updated: December 2015)

 
  • 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. Last updated: January 2017)

 

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

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

Culture
  • 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: Scottish Household Survey 2013: People, Culture and Heritage in Scotland (Last updated: January 2015)

Note: Results on religion should be treated with caution due to sample sizes. More recent years are currently unavailable.

 

More facts on this topic: Religion and Culture Page

More equality characteristics for Culture: Culture Page

Demography
  • In 2016, about half (47%) of people in Scotland stated their religion was Christian. In comparison, 49% of people stated that they had no religion. The remaining 4% of people include Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan, Jewish, Sikh and ‘Another religion’ responses.  

Source: Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2016 (Last updated: April 2018)

 
  • 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: 2011 Census: Release 2A (NRS. Table 9)

Note: Population information on Scotland's religious groups is collected as part of the Scottish Surveys Core Questions (SSCQ), as well as the Census. The Census data is less recent than the SSCQ data, but is a useful resource to use if data at a low level geography is required.

 

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 (Last updated: March 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 2014 (Last updated: May 2016)

 
  • The inpatient experiences of Church of Scotland patients were more positive when compared with patients of different religions or beliefs. However the experience of Church of Scotland patients, Roman Catholics and other Christians were very similar.
  • The primary care experiences of 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.

Source: Inpatient Experience Survey Volume 3: Exploring differences in experience (Last updated: April 2017), Variations in the Experiences of Primary Care Patients: Analysis of the Scottish Patient Experience Survey of GP and Local NHS Services 2011/12 (More recent analysis is currently unavailable. Last updated: March 2013)

 

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 Surveys Core Questions 2015 (Last updated: November 2016)

 
  • 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 (Last updated: March 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 2011 Census Release 2 (Last updated: March 2014)

 

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: Regional Employment Patterns in Scotland: Statistics from the Annual Population Survey 2016 (Last updated: May 2017)

 

More equality characteristics for Labour Market: Labour Market Page

Local Government
  • A slightly higher proportion of those of Other Religion (34%) agreed that they could influence decisions affecting their local area compared to Christians (24%) and No Religion (22%).

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016: Local Services (Last updated: September 2017)

 

More data on this topic: Religion and Local Government

More equality characteristics for Local Government: Local Government Page

Rural and Environment
  • 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.

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016: Environment (Last updated: September 2017)

 

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

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

School Education
  • In September 2017, 17.8% of pupils in publicly funded schools attended a Roman Catholic school. This is unchanged from 2016.

Source: Pupil Census 2017: Supplementary Data (Table 1.15. Last updated: March 2018)

 

More facts on this topic: Religion and School Education Page

More equality characteristics for School Education:  School Education Page

Third Sector
  • In 2016, 50% of volunteers were of Christian faith, 46% of volunteers were not religious, and 4% of volunteers were of another faith.

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2016: Volunteering (Last updated: September 2017)

 

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 (Last updated: March 2015)

 

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 Outputs

Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2016 (April 2018) Official statistics publication on equality groups across a range of measures from harmonised questions across the major SG population surveys. This publication is available for individual years, as well as a combined multi-year SSCQ which pools several years of data allowing for more in-depth analysis. This publication provides statistics centred around protected equality characteristics and sub-national geographies: age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, country of birth, deprivation and Health Board/Police Scotland Division.

 

Scottish Household Survey 2016 (September 2017) This report presents reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics and behaviour of Scottish households, both nationally and at a sub-national level. This includes analysis of age, deprivation, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation

 

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: Part 1 (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: Religion and Belief Evidence Review (2013) A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to 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.

The Position of Scotland’s Equality Groups. Revisiting Resilience in 2011 (2011) This study seeks to offer 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

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

Scottish Government Survey Data

Scottish Health Survey - Access to Scottish Health Survey data is available via the UK Data Service

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

UK Data Archive - 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

Scotland's Census

Scotland's Census Data Explorer - Download data, charts and tables from the 2011 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. The research below 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

External Publications and Outputs

Scotland's Councillors 2017-22 (Improvement Service, 2017) his report presents the findings of a survey of all councillors in Scotland following the May 2012 local elections. It includes age, ethnicity, gender and religion of councillors in Scotland

Scottish Muslims in Numbers: Understanding Scotland’s Muslims through the 2011 Census (December 2016) 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) Report exploring differences in personal well-being rating for different equality groups. It includes disability, ethnicity, gender and religion

External Research Organisations

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

Equality and Human Rights Commission - The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) encourages equality and diversity, and is responsible for enforcing the Equality Act. EHRC produce research and analysis on equality characteristics

Government Equalities Office - The Government Equalities Office (GEO) is part of the UK Government and publishes research and analysis relating to equality legislation in the UK