TWO-THIRDS of people in Scotland identify only as Scottish, not British, according to new findings from the census.

The data, which was published on Tuesday and collected by a nationwide census in 2022, also found that the majority of the Scots population say they have no religion – for the first time ever.

The census was the first one run in Scotland since 2011, and the results have painted an interesting picture of national identity.

It found that, of the 5,436,600 people living in Scotland, some 65.5% of them identify only as Scottish. This has increased by 3.1 points since 2011, when 62.4% of people said they were Scottish, not British.

READ MORE: The Roaring 20s: 1921 Scottish Census is unveiled after 100 years

The number of people identifying only as British has also increased, and at a greater rate. In 2011, 8.4% of people in Scotland said they were British, not Scottish. In 2022, that was 13.9% – an increase of 5.5 points.

The percentage of people who identify as both Scottish and British has decreased by more than 10 points, from 18.3% in 2011 to just 8.2% in 2022.

A slightly higher percentage of females (66.3%) said their only national identity was Scottish compared to males (64.6%).

Scottish ethnicity

The census data also reports the ethnic groups with which people identify, and found that 77.7% of people said “Scottish”.

In total, 9.4% said they were “Other British” within the “white” category, for a total of 87.1% of the population.

The census then found that 12.9% of people in Scotland identify with a “minority ethnic group”, an umbrella term which includes some ethnic groups that were in the white category on the census form such as Irish, Polish, Gypsy/Traveler, Roma and Showman/Showwoman.

In total, 2.92% of people in Scotland said they were “other white” – with three-quarters of these reporting as “European”. A further 1.67% said they were Polish, and 1.05% Irish.

READ MORE: Census results show Scotland has record high population

Some 1.12% of people said they were from a mixed background, 1.34% Pakistani (including Scots or British Pakistani), 0.97% Indian (including Scots or British Indian), 0.87% Chinese (including Scots or British Chinese), and 1.08% African (including Scots or British African).

The census also found that 2.5% of people aged three and over had some skills in Gaelic in 2022.

This was an increase of of 0.8 points on 2011, when 1.7% had some skills in Gaelic.

In Na h-Eileanan Siar the majority of people had some Gaelic skills (57.2%). This was far higher than the next highest council areas, Highland (8.1%) and Argyll and Bute (6.2%).


The census also found a majority of Scots saying that they do not have a religion for the first time. In 2022, some 51.1% of people had no religion, up from 36.7% in 2011.

The largest religious groups recorded in 2022 were the “Church of Scotland”, which 20.4% said they identified with.

The next largest religious groups were “Roman Catholic” (13.3%), “Other Christian” (5.1%), and “Muslim” (2.2%).

While the number of people identifying as Christian has declined across all denominations, the number of people reporting to be Muslim has increased, from 1.45% in 2011.

Humanist Society Scotland said the figures showed Scotland was not a secular country, with chief executive Fraser Sutherland adding: “We want to build on the momentum for change that these figures show, and continue to fight for changes in Holyrood and across the country that reflect our humanist values: secularism, bodily autonomy, LGBT+ inclusion, and an end to religious privilege.”

You can find more details from the latest census data here.