Scottish Connections

Ethnicity Data

In 2001, 2% of the Scottish population were from a (non-White) minority ethnic group.

The 2001 Census contains the most up-to-date official figures on the numbers of people of various ethnicities in Scotland. An analysis of ethnicity in the 2001 Census found, among other things, that:

  • 2% of the Scottish population were from a (non-White) minority ethnic group
  • over 70% of the visible minority ethnic population were Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese or Other South Asian)
  • the largest minority ethnic group in Scotland is "other white British" at 7.38%
  • the Pakistani community is the largest visible minority ethnic group in Scotland at 0.63% (representing just under under one third of the visible minority ethnic population in Scotland)
  • the "white Irish" population is 0.98%
  • those who identified themselves as "any other white background" was 1.54%
  • for all ethnic groups, Scotland is either the most common or the second most common country of birth. However, the percentages vary greatly between different ethnic groups: 47% of Pakistanis were born in Scotland compared to only 18% of Africans.


Detailed information on the country of birth of each ethnic group can be found in Analysis of Ethnicity in the 2001 Census (link opens in a new window).

The age profile of the minority ethnic populations in Scotland is younger than the white population. Over 57% of people from a minority ethnic background are aged under 30 years, compared to only 36% of the white population.

(Source: 2001 Census  link opens in a new window)

"The High Level Summary of Equality Statistics" (HLSES) was published by the Scottish Government (then called the Scottish Executive) in November 2006. It presents statistical trends on the main areas of Government activity in Scotland, broken down by the following equality dimensions; age, disability, ethnicity, gender and in some cases, religion.

The publication can be accessed on the Scottish Government website at: