SECTION 3: STRUCTURAL DISADVANTAGE
Given the limited research that seeks to identify and quantify sectarian discrimination in Scotland, much research has focused on testing for evidence of structural disadvantage32 by comparing outcomes for Catholics and Protestants in, for example, health, employment, housing and education. In this section, this is explored using the 2001 Census data and, in particular, a Scottish Executive report published in 2005 that uses the data specifically to examine the profiles of the different faith groups living in Scotland33. While the Census data are the most comprehensive source of information on the status of religious groups within Scotland, the 2001 data are now very out of date. (Data on religion from the 2011 Census were not available at time of writing.) This review therefore also draws heavily on some bespoke analysis of the most recent findings from the Scottish Household Survey and the Labour Force Survey.
A crucial point to make here is that comparing outcomes for Catholics and those who belong to the Church of Scotland does not allow us to test whether sectarian discrimination exists in Scotland. The research commissioned by Glasgow City Council highlighted that while many respondents believed that Catholics faced prejudice, almost just as many believed that the same was true of Protestants. As already noted, the same study also found that there was no significant difference in the level of discrimination experienced by Catholics and Protestants. This suggests then that sectarian behaviour will not necessarily result in poorer outcomes for one group relative to the other - if sectarian behaviour runs in both directions it may not manifest itself in indicators of structural disadvantage (unless it is aimed disproportionately at one group). This means that even if we find no evidence of structural disadvantage, we cannot use this to argue that sectarian behaviour no longer exists. What is being tested in this next section then is not whether sectarian behaviour still occurs in modern Scotland but whether the sort of sectarian behaviour that has been identified in the section above has resulted in disadvantage for any one particular group.
Before describing the findings from this analysis, it is worth noting some caveats that have been highlighted by Clegg and Rosie34 around using survey data on religion. Firstly, they draw attention to the different levels of reported 'No Religion' which emerge from different surveys, concluding that "when answering a survey about religion, [people] may under different circumstances describe themselves as being of no religion", thus overall figures for religious affiliation tend to vary. For example, the 2001 Census indicated that around 42% of people were affiliated with the Church of Scotland, around 16% to Catholicism and 28% claimed no religion. By comparison, the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2003 showed 36% affiliating themselves to the Church of Scotland, around 14% with Catholicism, and 37% claimed to have no religion. More recent data from the 2009/2010 Scottish Household Survey showed that around 33% professed an affiliation to the Church of Scotland, 15% to Catholicism and 41% with no religion35. (It is worth noting though that levels professing an affiliation to Catholicism are quite similar, regardless of the particular survey.) Secondly, religious affiliation (measured as the number of people in surveys who claim to belong to a particular religion) is different to religious behaviour or practice or beliefs, thus affiliation does not equate to what might be understood as being religious.
A Scottish Executive report published in 2005- Social Focus on Deprived Areas36 - drew on the 2001 Census data on religion and the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) to explore whether any particular religious groups were over-represented in Scotland's most deprived areas. Figure 1 shows the proportion of Catholics and Church of Scotland affiliates that live in each of the deprivation deciles and shows that while 19% of Catholics live in the most deprived areas, only 8% of those who belong to the Church of Scotland live in these areas. The study also found that Muslims were over-represented in these areas (14%) and argues that the reasons why both of these groups are overrepresented are complex and relate not only to their education, health and the labour market outcomes but also to the concentration of these groups in urban areas (which in turn tend to be characterised by higher levels of deprivation).
Figure 1: Religion by residence in SIMD decile
Source: Social Focus on Deprived Areas (2005) Scottish Government. Table 2.15
More recent Scottish Household Survey data also confirm that Catholics are disadvantaged in terms of area deprivation. Rather than examining deprivation deciles, Table 3 below examines the proportion of each religious group living in the 15% most deprived areas in Scotland. It shows that while 24% of Catholics live in the 15% most deprived areas, only 12% of those who belong to the Church of Scotland live in these areas.
Table 3: Religious affiliation by SIMD - 15% most deprived areas in Scotland
|Religion||Most deprived 15% areas||Rest of Scotland||Base = 100%|
|Church of Scotland||12%||88%||4,600|
|Another religion / Other||12%||88%||310|
Source: Scottish Household Survey. 2011 Random Adult Dataset.
Source: Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 2009.
The 2001 Census provides some information about housing tenure. Regardless of religious group, most people's household tenure is that of home owner (around two thirds). However, the data show that Catholics are less likely, than Church of Scotland households, to be homeowners (62% and 70% respectively)37. The data also show the proportion of households who live in social rented and private rented accommodation by religious group. Of those who live in rented accommodation, Catholics were slightly more likely to reside in social housing compared to Church of Scotland households (86% and 81% respectively) and more likely to do so than any other religious group38 .
These differences were corroborated by more recent data from the Scottish Household Survey. As Table 4 shows, 26% of Catholics compared with 18% of those affiliated with the Church of Scotland, were in socially rented accommodation in 2011. Those most likely to be owner occupiers were those affiliated to the Church of Scotland (75%). The comparable figure for Catholics is 60%.
Table 4: Religion of Respondent by Tenure, 2011
|Religion||Owner occupied||Socially rented||Privately rented||Other||Base = 100%|
|Church of Scotland||75%||18%||5%||2%||4,600|
|Another religion / Other||61%||15%||23%||1%||310|
Source: Scottish Household Survey, 2011. Random adult dataset. Weighted percentages and unweighted bases.
The Census also records data on occupancy rating from which a sense of overcrowding can be gauged39. Whilst Muslim households were most likely to live in over-crowded accommodation, Catholics were more likely than Church of Scotland households to be living in this way. (16% of Catholic households were in over-crowded accommodation compared with 10% of Church of Scotland households)40.
Table 5 uses data from the 2011 Scottish Household Survey to show the proportion of Catholics and those who belong to the Church of Scotland who achieved various levels of educational attainment. At the top end of the scale, 24% of those who belong to the Church of Scotland and 22% of Catholics were educated to Degree or Professional Qualification level - a difference that is not statistically significant. There was also no statistically significant difference at the other end of the scale - 27% of those affiliated to the Church of Scotland and 24% of Catholics and had no qualifications.
Table 5: (Christian) Religion by Highest Educational Qualification, 2011
|Religion||Degree, Professional Qualification||HNC / HND or equivalent||Higher, A Level or equivalent||O Grade, Standard Grade or equivalent||Other qualification||No qualifications||Qualifications not known||Base = 100%|
|Church of Scotland||24%||9%||14%||17%||8%||27%||1%||4,600|
|Another religion / Other||43%||14%||11%||11%||2%||18%||1%||310|
Source: Scottish Household Survey, 2011. Random adult dataset. Weighted percentages and unweighted bases.
Although more dated, the 2001 Census is useful in that it provides analysis across age groups. Table 6 shows the highest level of qualification by current religion for 16-74 year olds as a whole. While across all age groups it shows (like the SHS) that attainment amongst Catholics and Church of Scotland adherents is very similar, analysis by age reveals some differences.
Table 6: Highest Level of Qualification by Current Religion of All People aged 16-74
|Religion||No qualifications or non standard qualifications||O/Standard Grade, Intermediate C&G; SVQ 1&2||Highers, CSYS, ONC, OND, C&G Advanced, RSA Advanced Diploma, SVQ 3 or equivalent||HND, HNC, RSA Higher Diploma, SVQ Level 4/5 or equivalent||First Degree, Higher Degree, Profes.Qual.|
|Church of Scotland||38%||25%||14%||6%||16%|
SOURCE: Religion in the 2001 Census" (2005a) Office of the Chief Statistician. Table 3.1.
Comparing the proportion of those of different Christian affiliation who have no qualifications or non-standard qualifications, Table 7 shows that there are no differences among Catholics and Church of Scotland adherents aged 16 - 29. (The data also show that among this age group, there were very similar proportions of Catholics and Church of Scotland adherents who attained each of the four other categories of educational attainment in the columns in Table 7) However, differences are apparent among those aged over 30. As Table 7 shows, Catholics aged 30-49, 50 to pensionable age and pensionable age to 76 are more likely, than those affiliated to the Church of Scotland, to lack qualifications or to have only non-standard qualifications.
Table 7: Proportion of People with No Qualifications by Current Religion
|No Qualifications (or non standard qualifications)||Age 16 - 29||30 - 49||50- Pensionable Age||Pensionable Age - 76|
|Church of Scotland||12%||26%||52%||65%|
SOURCE: Religion in the 2001 Census" (2005a) Office of the Chief Statistician. Tables 3.2 -3.5.
The Census records the 'economic activity' rate which, consistent with the International Labour Organisation definition, is the proportion of the working age population who are working, not working but looking for work (and available to start within 2 weeks) or in full-time education. These data show that while 76% of those who were affiliated to the Church of Scotland were economically active at the time of the Census among Catholics the figure was lower (71%)42. The data also show that levels of employment were lower amongst Catholics (65%) than amongst those affiliated to the Church of Scotland (72%), and this difference held across the genders. Catholics were also shown to have a higher unemployment rate than those affiliated to the Church of Scotland - 8% compared with 6%. Muslims had the highest unemployment rate overall. Finally, the data show that Catholics were less likely to be self-employed than those of other all religious groups.
More recent data on employment status are provided by the 2011 Scottish Household Survey results. Table 8 shows that Catholics are twice as likely as those affiliated to the Church of Scotland to be unemployed and seeking work. The table also suggests that this is likely to reflect age differences between the two groups - the fact that 40% of those affiliated to the Church of Scotland were permanently retired (compared with only 20% of Catholics) suggests that there are considerable differences in the age profile of each group. This, and other demographic differences in the two groups, is discussed towards the end of this paper.
Table 8: Religion by employment status, 2011
|Religion||Self-employed, full time or part time employed||Permanently retired||At school, higher/further education or training scheme||Looking after home or family||Unable to work due to illness or disability||Unemployed||Base = 100%|
|Church of Scotland||46%||40%||3%||4%||5%||3%||4,600|
|Another religion / Other||48%||11%||17%||10%||3%||8%||310|
Source: Scottish Household Survey, 2011. Random adult dataset..
The most robust source of recent data on employment outcomes is the Annual Population Survey which pulls together the quarterly data collected in the Labour Force Survey. The range of questions included on economic activity and employment also means that it is the most accurate source of data on levels of employment. For the purposes of this review, colleagues in Labour Market Statistics provided some analysis of Annual Labour Force Survey data by religion for both 2011 and 2012. This revealed that:
- In 2012, the employment rate (among the population aged 16-64) was slightly lower for Catholics (68%) than for Church of Scotland (71%). There were similar small differences in 2011 (69% and 71% respectively);
- The unemployment rate among Catholics (9%) was higher than the rate among those affiliated to the Church of Scotland (6%). In 2011 the figures were 9% and 7% respectively.
- Economic activity rates were lower for Catholics (78%) for those affiliated to the Church of Scotland (84%). The proportions in 2011 were 78% and 83%.
Commentators have argued that, historically, Catholics in Scotland have been predominantly working class43. However, the data on the relationship between social status (measured by occupation) and religion that we were able to obtain for this review provides mixed findings about the current position of Catholics.
The most comprehensive source is the Census data. Although now very dated, the 2001 data showed quite clearly that there was little or no difference in the occupations of Catholics and those of the Church of Scotland. Focusing on either end of the scale, Table 9 shows that among Catholics and those affiliated to the Church of Scotland very similar proportions -13% and 14% - were in 'elementary occupations' (such as farm workers, construction labourers, and packers) and very similar proportions were in managerial and senior official occupations - 11% and 12%. There was also little or no difference in the proportion of Catholics and Church of Scotland affiliates in the other occupational groupings.
Table 9: Occupation of Employment by Current Religion of All People aged 16-74 in employment
|Religion||Managers and senior officials||Professional||Associate professional and technical||Administrative and secretarial||Skilled trades||Personal service||Sales and customer services||Process, plant and machine occupations||Elementary|
|Church of Scotland||12%||9%||13%||14%||13%||8%||8%||10%||13%|
SOURCE: Religion in the 2001 Census" (2005a) Office of the Chief Statistician. Table 4.2.
By comparison, the 2011 Scottish Household Survey data on occupational class suggests that there are some differences in the occupational class of Catholics and those affiliated to the Church of Scotland. Table 10 shows that there are differences across almost all of the occupational classes and that Catholics are less likely than those of the Church of Scotland to be in higher occupational classes and more likely to work in semi-routine and routine occupations.
Table 10: Religion by occupational class, 2011
|Religion||Higher managerial and professional||Lower managerial and professional||Intermediate occupations||Small employers and own account||Lower supervisory and technical||Semi-routine||Routine occupations||Base = 100%|
|Church of Scotland||8%||25%||17%||9%||10%||18%||14%||1,510|
|Another religion / Other||12%||22%||19%||10%||7%||20%||9%||120|
Source: Scottish Household Survey, 2011. Random adult dataset.
The differences between the Census and the Scottish Household Survey data could be due to differences in the classification system used. The differences between the Census and the Scottish Household Survey data could be due to differences in the classification system used. While the Scottish Household Survey assigns classification only to working age adults in employment, the Census covers a wider age range (16-74). It is therefore not possible to use the occupational profiles apparent in the Census and Scottish Household Survey data to draw any conclusions about change in the relative position of Catholics and those of the Church of Scotland since 2001. To explore this we will have to wait for the release of the 2011 Census data.
It should also be noted that similarities in the occupational class among Catholics and those affiliated to the Church of Scotland that we see in the Census data might mask some important differences across the age groups. In much earlier work, Paterson45 explored the occupational class of Catholics in Scotland using data generated from the 1997 Scottish Election Survey. Paterson's concept of class was derived from the Goldthorpe Scheme which uses father's class (or where not available, mother's class) to categorise subjects into either manual or non-manual groups46. It should also be noted that his analysis is based on two categories of religion, Catholic and non-Catholic, where the latter comprises a very large and heterogeneous group of people. Paterson used the data to show that while, among older Catholics, class profile was significantly different from non-Catholics, social class amongst younger Catholics resembled that of non-Catholics for both men and women. From this he speculated that the social status of Catholics has probably risen to a greater extent than non-Catholics, the most likely explanation being a result of state funded Catholic education in 1918 and improvements to education after 1965 with provision for the comprehensive system. He also notes that although poorer formal educational qualifications accounted for part of the differences across the age groups, it did not account for all. Some of the differences in class profile among older groups could therefore have been due to discrimination in employment practice. The analysis could suggest that, although there may have been discrimination in the past, this is no longer being experienced by younger cohorts. However, Paterson does not rule out an alternative explanation- that occupational disadvantage and barriers only emerge with age, as people reach a certain point in their careers - and the possibility that these younger cohorts will experience discrimination as their careers progress.
The work of Paterson and Iannelli47 is also very relevant here. They used Scottish Household Survey data from 2001 to explore the relationship between educational attainment, social status and religion in Scotland. Social status was defined by job and broken down into: unskilled; skilled; self-employed; routine non-manual; lower grade professional; and higher grade professional. While in older cohorts they found that Catholics were generally of lower status than Church of Scotland (and those defined as non-religious), in younger cohorts48 they found far less difference in social status between the two religious groups. The researchers also explore social mobility by comparing respondents' original social status (defined by parents' occupations when the respondent was around the age of 14) and their destination (current) status. Overall they found that there were similar levels of social mobility among religious groups and that this held true even for the older cohorts. They concluded that "[T]he relative chances of reaching a high-status destination as opposed to a lower-status one, when comparing any two classes of origin, are the same in all religious groups". Their analysis of the relationship between respondents' educational attainment and their social status suggested that the labour market was operating in a meritocratic way ("there is no evidence for any of the cohorts that the labour market rewards to education differ by religion").
Although the survey is designed to provide data on income band rather than average income or average earning, some information on income (of the highest income householder and their partner) can be gleaned from the Scottish Household Survey.
These data suggest that Catholics are not disadvantaged in terms of income. There was no statistically significant difference in the proportion of Catholics and those affiliated to the Church of Scotland who were in each income bracket.
Table 11: Net Annual Household Income - by (Christian) Religion
|Religion||£0 - £10,000||£10,001 - £20,000||£20,001 - £30,000||Over £30,000||Base = 100%|
|Church of Scotland||15%||33%||22%||29%||4,470|
|Another religion / Other||18%||32%||17%||33%||290|
Source: Scottish Household Survey, 2011. Random adult dataset.
One of the key indicators of disadvantage is poor health. Though the findings are not always consistent, there are a number of sources of data about health differences among Catholics and non-Catholics.
The Census measures self-reported health by asking: How is your health in general? It then asks about long term health conditions which have lasted or are expected to last at least 12 months, and then about limiting long term illness/disability which may affect daily activities and have lasted or are expected to last at least 12 months49. Data from the 2001 Census demonstrate that, among those aged 0 - 29 years50 , Catholics were marginally more likely to report long-term limiting illness and disability than those who were affiliated to the Church of Scotland. The difference between the two groups appeared more marked in the 30-49 year old group, with greater proportions of Catholics reporting long-term limiting illness and disability. These differences increased further in the 50 to pensionable age group, and the pensionable age to 74 group. There was a slightly less pronounced difference between the two religions in the 75 plus group.
Table 12: Proportion of People with long-term illness and disability by Current Religion
|Religion||Gender||Age 0 - 29||30 - 49||50- Pensionable Age||Pensionable Age - 74||75+|
|Church of Scotland||Male Female||11.9 9.9||12.8 12.9||30.1 25.5||46.1 39.5||60.7 66.5|
|Roman Catholic||Male Female||13.7 11.3||16.4 16.4||41.3 35.5||56.5 50.2||67.7 72.2|
|All Religions||Male Female||12.7 10.7||13.2 13.6||31.1 27.6||47.9 42.0||62.3 67.8|
SOURCE: Religion in the 2001 Census" (2005a) Office of the Chief Statistician. Table 5.2.
By comparison, the Scottish Household Survey data for 2011 show that Catholics no longer appear to suffer these health disadvantages. As Table 13 shows, 73% of Catholics compared with only 67% of those affiliated to the Church of Scotland stated that they had no limiting long-term illness, health problem or disability. This difference is statistically significant. A possible explanation for the apparent improvement in health outcomes for Catholics, relative to those of the Church of Scotland, is the older age profile of the latter group (see section headed 'Explaining differences' below).
Table 13: Limiting Long-term Illness, Health Problem or Disability by Religion, 2011
|Religion||Yes, disability||Yes, illness or health problem||Yes, both disability and illness or health problem||No, neither||Base|
|Church of Scotland||7%||15%||10%||67%||4,600|
|Another religion / Other||4%||15%||4%||77%||310|
Source: Scottish Household Survey, 2011. Random adult dataset.
Further data on the self-reported health of those of different religions is available from the Scottish Health Survey. Again this survey asked respondents to rate their health as being: very good; good; fair; bad; or very bad. A topic report on equalities, published in 201251 , combined the data from four consecutive years (2008-2011) to allow more in-depth analysis of sub-populations. The data showed that respondents whose religion was Church of Scotland were slightly, but statistically significantly, more likely to rate their health as good or very good (78%) than the Scottish average (76%) and Roman Catholics were statistically significantly less likely to do so (72%)52.
Again, however, data from the Scottish Household Survey for 2011 present a different picture and suggest much smaller differences between the two religious groups. As Table 14 shows, there was little difference in the proportion of Catholics and those of the Church of Scotland who rated their health as being very good or good (this difference was only just statistically significant) and no significant difference in the proportion who rated their health as bad or very bad.
Table 14: Self-reported General Health by Religion, 2011
|Religion||Very good/good||Fair||Bad/very bad||Base = 100%|
|Church of Scotland||71%||23%||6%||4,600|
|Another religion / Other||81%||14%||5%||310|
Source: Scottish Household Survey, 2011. Random adult dataset.
The health of Catholics relative to other groups has been the focus of a range of analyses of the Twenty-07 Study53 . The Twenty-07 Study was set up in 1987 to investigate reasons for differences in health across place, age, gender, ethnicity, family structure and socio-economic circumstances. It should be noted that in this study the focus was on Irish Catholics - those who were either Irish by birth or had at least one parent who was Irish. The sample included 4,510 people, who were followed for 20 years, with the final data collection in 2007. Three cohorts of people were followed - those who were initially aged 15, 35 and 55 at the start of the study. Subjects were living in a large and socially mixed urban area in the west of Scotland54. The study has generated a wealth of detailed information on health - some of which allows comparison between Irish Catholics and non-Catholics55.
Some of the data, discussed by Abbotts et al 56 reveal significant differences on most aspects of health between Irish Catholics and non-Catholics. Abbots57 also found that mortality amongst Irish Catholics exceeded those of other groups for most causes of death, and was especially pronounced for cardiovascular disease. In a subsequent paper Abbotts et al58 show that health disadvantages for Irish Catholics increase with age. The differences are very small amongst the youngest age group (those aged 18 at the beginning of the 1990s), greater among the middle aged cohort (those aged 38 at the beginning of the 1990s), and greatest amongst older age groups (those aged 58 at the beginning of the 1990s). However, it is not yet possible to use this evidence to suggest that health differentials between Irish Catholics and non-Catholics have decreased with time - self-reported good health is highly correlated with age and so those narrower differentials in the younger groups might not be retained- as the current younger groups age, differences between Irish Catholics and non-Catholics could widen.
For this review we examined data from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) and disaggregated victims of crime according to their religious group to explore whether particular groups are more likely to be the victims of crime. In practice, only the response categories for Catholics, Church of Scotland, No Religion and Other Religion are of a large enough size to allow for meaningful comparison. Analysis of data from 2010-11 suggests that Catholics are more likely to have been the victims of crime than the other groups listed - 20% of Catholics who responded to the survey (and gave their religion) were the victims of crime compared with 14% of those who were affiliated to the Church of Scotland59. However, it is important to note that differences in victimisation between Catholics and those who belong to the Church of Scotland are likely (at least in part) to reflect the fact that, as we have already seen, Catholics are more likely to live in deprived areas. Results from the 2011 SCJS show that the risk of criminal victimisation was higher for adults living in the 15% most deprived areas (21%) compared with those living in the rest of Scotland (17%)60.
Several authors have persistently argued that the criminal justice system discriminates against people of Irish origin61. In Scotland, there is evidence that Catholics are disproportionately represented in prisons, an issue which has been raised in the Scottish media and Scottish Parliament. While in 2001, Catholics represented around 16% of the total population in Scotland, they represented 28% of the total prison population62. Official figures suggest however that the proportion of Catholics in Scottish jails over recent years has dropped slightly. In 2006, the total number of prisoners in Scotland was 7,205, with 24% of these self-defined on entry as Catholic63 and in 2008-09 the figure was 23%64 65.
Drawing on Houchin's (2005) research on the links between social exclusion and offending, Wiltshire (2010) suggested that disproportionate numbers were most likely a result of the relationship between social deprivation and imprisonment which holds across prisoner groups more generally66. Catholics, as we have already seen, are more likely to be living in the areas of deprivation from which most prisoners in Scotland come.
This section has explored whether there is any evidence that sectarianism manifests itself in disadvantage for either Catholics or those who belong to the Church of Scotland. The evidence shows that Catholics are not disadvantaged in terms of income and that younger Catholics are no longer disadvantaged in terms of educational attainment. The most comprehensive source of data also suggests that Catholics are not disadvantaged in terms of occupational class (but we do need to wait for the release of the 2011 Census data to test whether this is still the case). Although earlier data suggested that Catholics were more likely to suffer poor health, these differences may be disappearing. The data have shown however that Catholics are more likely, than those of the Church of Scotland, to be unemployed, to live in deprived areas, to rent their homes, to be the victims of crime and to experience imprisonment. Some of these findings will be related. For example, the fact that Catholics are more likely to live in the most deprived areas will go some way to explaining their greater risk of criminal victimisation and imprisonment. The health outcomes and area deprivation findings are also likely to be linked (though the direction of causality may be reciprocal).
There is also evidence to suggest that disadvantage is more apparent amongst older generations of Catholics than younger generations. This has been shown in relation to health, occupational profile and educational attainment. The Twenty-07 Study by Abbots et al (2004) which explored Catholic disadvantage over a period of twenty years also suggested that there is a diminishing gap between Catholics and non-Catholics on a range of indicators examined (home ownership, car ownership, and socio-economic position of head of household). Together these data suggest that the socio-economic position of Irish Catholics has improved. However in interpreting these findings it is important to recognise that there may be an age effect; in other words, socio-economic differences may only emerge as people get older. So while some authors have argued67 that discrimination against Irish Catholics was at its most pronounced after the Second World War, and it is unlikely that younger generations will experience this to the same extent as their forebears, Abbotts et al 68 caution that whilst there have certainly been improvements for Catholics in Scotland it is premature to conclude that there is now equality in outcomes.
The data on structural disadvantage do not, by themselves, show that Catholics have been the subject of systematic discrimination, either at the personal or institutional level. This is because some of the associations which emerge between religion and the measures of disadvantage may be influenced by demographic differences between those of different groups rather than by religion itself. One obvious differences is age. With Protestant communities being hit harder and earlier by a secularisation of their young69 , the character of the Protestant communities has become older and, perhaps as a direct result, more affluent. The distinction between the age profile of Protestants and Catholics could be seen in the 2001 Census data70 : while over a quarter (27%) of those who were affiliated to the Church of Scotland were of pensionable age or above, the proportion among Roman Catholics was only 17%. The age profile of the various religious groups is illustrated in Figure 2 below. It also shows that a much higher proportion of Catholics were under the age of 30 than were those of the Church of Scotland. This could go some way to explaining differences in, for example, housing tenure, employment rates71 , criminal victimisation and imprisonment rates72.
Figure 2: Age profile of all people by current religion
SOURCE: Scottish Executive (2005a) Analysis of Religion in the 2001 Census. Summary Report. Office of the Chief Statistician. Chart 1.2
The 2001 Census data also revealed that a smaller proportion of Roman Catholics were married (47%) than were those who were affiliated to the Church of Scotland (55%)73 and the 2011 Scottish Household Survey data show that a higher percentage of Catholics are female (41%) than those who belong to the Church of Scotland (38%). Finally, we also know from the 2001 Census data that among those who were in a couple, Catholics were more likely to have dependent children than those who were affiliated to the Church of Scotland74. (Of families75 headed by a Roman Catholic, 47% had at least one dependent child. The proportion among those headed by someone from the Church of Scotland was only 36%.) Even more striking is the evidence that, of all religious groups, Roman Catholic families are the most likely to be lone parent families. Of all Roman Catholic families with dependent children, 34% were headed by a lone parent, compared with 24% of those headed by someone from the Church of Scotland76. There may also be other demographic differences that need to be considered, such as length of residency in Scotland - this is particularly important given the likely growth in Catholic migrant populations from Eastern Europe.
The relative impact of these demographic differences and religion on outcomes deserves fuller analysis. The release of the 2011 Census data will provide an ideal opportunity to explore this using regression analysis to identify the relative impact of a range of variables (such as religion, age, gender, length of residency and family status) on the outcomes discussed above.
Email: Ben Cavanagh
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