Most say Scottish is their only national identity

Census report shows changes in Scotland's people and culture from religion, to ethnic group and national identity.

Most say Scottish is their only national identity, census shows Getty Images

Most people in Scotland say their only national identity is Scottish – with the number of people describing themselves as Scottish and British plummeting.

Census data released on Tuesday shows that 65.5% of the population had Scottish as their only identity – an increase from 62.4% in 2011.

The 2022 census also shows an increase in those who identify as British only – up to 13.9% from 8.4% in 2011.

But the largest shift, was among those who only identified as Scottish and British. In 2011, 18.3% of the population thought of themselves as both – but in 2022, this fell to just 8.2%.

The data also shows a higher percentage of females (66.3%) said their only national identity was Scottish compared to males (64.6%).

Gaelic and Scots

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

This is an increase of 43,100 people since 2011 when 1.7% had some skills in Gaelic. In 2001 1.9% had some Gaelic skills, similar to 2011.

In Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) the majority 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%). In all other council areas less than 3% of people aged three and over had some Gaelic skills.

The percentage of people aged three and over with some skills in Scots also increased, to 46.2% in 2022 from 37.7% in 2011.

The percentage with Scots skills was higher in the north east of Scotland. Aberdeenshire had the highest percentage with some Scots skills (64.1%) and Na h-Eileanan Siar had the lowest (30.7%).

Director of census statistics Jon Wroth-Smith said: “These statistics give a fascinating insight into religion, ethnicity, national identity and language use across Scotland and how they have changed over the years.

“It is exciting to publish the first of topic releases and this, along with our other census data to come, will help local and central government, businesses and charities to plan services in the years ahead.”

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