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Majority of Scots ‘have no religion’, census data shows

by Heather Preston

For the first time in Scotland’s census history, the majority of people there have said they do not belong to a religion.

Data from the 2022 Scottish Census shows 51.1 per cent of people said they had “no religion.”

That figure has increased from 36.7 per cent in eleven years.

Having no religion was the most common answer in almost every council area in Scotland, according to a new report from the National Records of Scotland (NRS).

Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) and Inverclyde were the exceptions.

In the Western Isles, Church of Scotland (35.3 per cent) was the most common response while in Inverclyde it was Roman Catholic (33.4 per cent).

Jon Wroth-Smith, Director of Census Statistics suggests a decline in Christianity has contributed significantly to the change.

“The increase in people with no religion in Scotland coincided with a decrease in people who said they belong to the Church of Scotland,” the report reads.

The data reveals a drop of over 1 million people claiming to belong to the Church of Scotland since 2001.

In 2022 20.4 per cent said they were part of the Church of Scotland, down from 32.4 per cent in 2011 and 42.4 per cent in 2001.

Reverend David Cameron, from the Church of Scotland told the BBC the statistics were "sobering."

The Church of Scotland was also the largest group among those who said they had a religion.

The number of people who called themselves Roman Catholics also dropped, from 15.88 per cent in 2011 to 13.3 per cent in 2022, whilst the number in the Other Christian category decreased by 12,000.

Meanwhile, the number of people who described themselves as Muslim increased by 43,100 over the same period.

The NRS said census data from England and Wales showed a "similar trend” to Scotland.

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