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

White ethnicities

In 2011, Scotland’s population was 96% White.

This was a decrease from 2001, when the population was 98% white.

84% of Scotland’s population identified as ‘White: Scottish’, while another 8% identified as 'White: Other British'.

4% of Scotland’s population had other white identities, including Polish, Irish, Gypsy/Traveller and ‘White: Other’.

Ethnic minorities

Scotland's ethnic minority population doubled from 2% to 4% between 2001 and 2011.

About 211,000 people said they belonged to an ethnic minority group.

Asian and African, Caribbean and Black identities were the two largest minority groups.

Mixed or multiple ethnic groups made up 0.4% of the population. Other ethnic groups made up 0.3% of the population.

Asian ethnicities

Scotland’s Asian population made up the largest ethnic minority group.

3% of the population, or 141,000 people, identified as Asian. The Asian population had nearly doubled between 2001 and 2011, rising by 69,000.

Pakistani was the largest category within the Asian group. Pakistani people made up about a third of the Asian ethnic group.

African, Caribbean or Black ethnicities

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

About 72,000 people identified as African, Caribbean or Black. This population had grown by 28,000 people since 2001.

Other ethnic groups

14,000 people said they belonged to an 'other' ethnic group.

Of these, 9,000 people said their ethnicity was Arab, Arab Scottish or Arab British.


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

Ethnic minorities made up:

  • 12% of Glasgow City’s population
  • 8% of City of Edinburgh's population
  • 8% of Aberdeen City's population
  • 5% of Dundee City's population

Explore Scotland's Census

This article only scratches the surface. The complete set of data from Scotland's Census is easy to use and free for everyone.

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