Two Thirds of Scotland is Christian, Census Shows

The latest census in Scotland revealed that two-thirds of respondents considered themselves as Christians, while over a quarter said they do not follow any religion.

Of all Christians in Scotland, 42% considered themselves part of the Church of Scotland while 16% were Catholic.

Muslims were the next largest group at 1%. Meanwhile, Hindus, Jews and Sikhs made up less than 2% of the population, said an analysis of the 2001 census. That year's census was the first to include questions on religion.

2.1 million said they were of the Church of Scotland and 803,700 Catholics. There were 42,600 Muslims, 6,800 Buddhists, 5,600 Hindus, 6,400 Jews and 6,600 Sikhs.

Drops in Membership

The Church of Scotland saw the biggest drop-off in membership amongst all religions. While 47% of people said they had been raised in the Church of Scotland, only 42% remained affiliated with the religion.

Compared with the 5% drop in the Church of Scotland, all other religions, including Roman Catholicism had drops of around 1% or less.

Statistics suggest that in other parts of the UK, a higher percentage of people considered themselves as having religion. The rate in England and Wales was 77%, Northern Ireland was 86% while Scotland was only 65%.

Scottish Executive statisticians said this could be due to the format of questions south of Scotland.

According to the census, 74% of Scots said they had been brought up in a faith.

Islam

Amongst all people accounted for, Muslims were the youngest with 31% being under 16 years of age.

About 42% of Sikhs and 39% of Muslims in the 16-74 age group said they didn't have official qualifications for jobs compared to 33% of Scots.

Thirteen percent of Muslims were unemployed. This was nearly double the overall Scottish rate.

The Muslim Association of Britain suggested that the number of Muslims in the country could be greater, if not for the current climate of "Islamophobia". Spokesman Osama, Saeed, said that the statistics indicated that Muslims were being restrained from fulfilling their potential.

"Half of all Muslims are under 25, giving us a very young population," he said.

"Sadly, the conditions these young people live in are poor, too many have bleak job prospects and educational attainment is not as high as the national average. If this isn't addressed, we are storing potential unrest for the future."