Strong sense of national identity in a more diverse Scotland


The latest set of 2011 Census data reveals a detailed picture of Scottish society – with a more diverse country than ever before, underpinned by a strong sense of Scottish national identity.

In addition to depicting a more multi-cultural nation, the census results published today show that 83 per cent of the Scottish population felt they had a Scottish national identity, with 62 per cent of people feeling Scottish only.  18 per cent identify as Scottish and British and 2 per cent combine Scottish with another identity.

Commenting on the publication, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“The census results reveal a fascinating picture of Scotland today. While our society is more multi-cultural than ever before, and our communities more ethnically and religiously diverse, people here also have a very strong sense of Scottish identity.

“While 62 per cent of people feel Scottish only, a further 21 per cent of the population share their Scottish connection with another identity – the highest claim to a resident national identity anywhere in the UK. It is especially welcome that, amongst those proud to claim a Scottish identity, are those who have chosen Scotland as their home and the census reflects in particular the increase in our Polish and Asian populations.”

In Scotland, 83 per cent of people reported ‘any Scottish’ identity, i.e. they indicated they felt Scottish, either only Scottish or Scottish in combination with British or any other identity. In England, 70 per cent had ‘any English’ national identity, in Wales 66 per cent had ‘any Welsh’ identity, whereas in Northern Ireland 29 per cent said they had ‘any Northern Irish’ identity.

The findings also show that since 2001 there has been an increase of three percentage points in the number of people living in Scotland who were born outside the UK. The first census release in December 2012 revealed that Scotland’s population is now the highest in history, and between 2001 and 2011 there was a six per cent increase in the number of people of working age (16-64 years).

Ms Hyslop added: “These figures show that Scotland is an attractive and dynamic nation and one where people from many different backgrounds, cultures and nationalities want to make a life for themselves and their families and celebrate their Scottish identity.

“The census provides good news for our economy too revealing that almost 70 per cent of people living in Scotland who were born abroad were of working age when they arrived in this country. The Scottish Government has set a target to match average European population growth over the period 2007 to 2017. These figures show that we continue in the right direction.

“The Scottish Government welcomes the contribution these new Scots can make to our economy and society, and we are working hard to promote Scotland as a positive place to work, study and settle.”