This is a new service. Your feedback will help us to improve it.

Ethnicity

The census asked people what ethnic group they belonged to. This information gives us a better understanding of communities in Scotland.

The 2011 census found that:

  • Scotland's population was 96.0% white, a decrease of 2.0% from 2001
  • 91.8% of people identified as ‘White: Scottish’ or ‘White: Other British'
  • 4.2% of people identified as Polish, Irish, Gypsy/Traveller or ‘White: Other’
  • the population in Asian, African, Caribbean or Black, Mixed or Other ethnic groups doubled to 4.0%

White ethnicities

In 2011, the largest white ethnic group was 'White: Scottish'.

83.9% of the population identified as being in this group, while another 7.9% identified as being 'White: Other British'.

About 221,000 people identified as being part of a white minority ethnic group.

The most common white minority ethnic groups were:

  • 61,000 people who identified as 'White: Polish'
  • 54,000 people who identified as 'White: Irish'
  • 29,000 people who identified as 'White: Other Western European'
  • 4,000 people in Scotland identified as 'White: Gypsy/Traveller'

Asian ethnicities

The Asian population nearly doubled in size between 2001 and 2011, rising by 69,000.

2.7% of Scotland's population identified as Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British. This was about 141,000 people, split between:

  • 50,000 people who identified as 'Pakistani'
  • 34,000 people who identified as 'Chinese'
  • 33,000 people who identified as 'Indian'
  • 21,000 people who identified as 'Other'
  • 4,000 people who identified as 'Bangladeshi'

African, Caribbean or Black ethnicities

African Caribbean or Black groups made up just over 1% of Scotland’s population.

This population had grown by 28,000 people since 2001. More than 36,000 people identified as African, Caribbean or Black, split between:

  • about 30,000 people who identified as 'African'
  • just under 7,000 people who identified as 'Caribbean or Black'

Mixed or other ethnic groups

Under 1% of Scotland's population identified as having a Mixed, Multiple or Other ethnicity.

This was 34,000 people, split between:

  • 20,000 people who identified as 'Mixed or Multiple ethnic groups'
  • 9,000 people who identified as 'Other: Arab'
  • 5,000 people who identified as 'Other: Other ethnicity'

Diversity

Scotland’s cities had the highest proportions of ethnic minorities.

In Edinburgh, 17.9% of the population identified as an ethnic minority. This included:

  • 5.1% identified their ethnicity as White: Other
  • 2.7% identified their ethnicity as White: Polish
  • 1.8% identified their ethnicity as White: Irish
  • 1.7% identified their ethnicity as Chinese
  • 1.4% identified their ethnicity as Indian
  • 1.2% identified their ethnicity as Pakistani

 

In Glasgow, 17.3% of the population identified as an ethnic minority. This included:

  • 3.8% identified their ethnicity as Pakistani
  • 2.4% identified their ethnicity as White: Other
  • 2.1% identified their ethnicity as African
  • 1.9% identified their ethnicity as White: Irish
  • 1.8% identified their ethnicity as Chinese
  • 1.5% identified their ethnicity as Indian
  • 1.4% identified their ethnicity as White: Polish

 

In Aberdeen, 17.1% of the population identified as an ethnic minority. This included:

  • 4.7% identified their ethnicity as White: Other
  • 3.2% identified their ethnicity as White: Polish
  • 2.2% identified their ethnicity as African
  • 1.5% identified their ethnicity as Indian
  • 1.0% identified their ethnicity as Asian: Other

 

In Dundee, 10.6% of the population identified as an ethnic minority. This included:

  • 2.3% identified their ethnicity as White: Other
  • 1.4% identified their ethnicity as Pakistani
  • 1.4% identified their ethnicity as White: Polish

Explore Scotland's Census

This article only scratches the surface of the ethnic groups that make-up Scotland's population. The data from Scotland's Census is easy to use and free for everyone.

Area overviews

View and compare simple census results for postcodes, towns, council areas, or all of Scotland.

Search the data

Get detailed data tables for a wide range of topics and geographies with our data searching tool.

Analytical reports

Read detailed reports that make use of census data to explore various topics.