Scottish census 2022 data at the UK Data Service

Dave RawnsleyDave Rawnsley gives a brief introduction to Scotland’s Census 2022 data that is now available via the UK Data Service catalogue. 

On Tuesday 21 May, the National Records for Scotland (NRS) released its first tranche of unrounded data from the delayed 2022 Census of Scotland. A total of 24 tables are available at Output Area (OA), the smallest level of geography available at an area that contains approximately 50 households. The data tables are also available for Health Board Area, Scottish Parliamentary Constituency and UK Parliamentary Constituency level as well as other administrative zones.

An image of one of the newly available datasets.

The released tables are in three topic areas – ‘Demography and Migration’,’ Housing’ and ‘Ethnic Group, National Identity, Language and Religion’.

The first key finding of this release is that, according to NRS, “a majority of people said they had no religion”. A total of 51.1% in Scotland’s Census 2022 responded ‘no religion’ – up from 36.7% in 2011. ‘No religion’ was the most common response in almost every council area in Scotland. In Na h-Eileanan Siar, ‘Church of Scotland’ remained the most common response and in Inverclyde ‘Roman Catholic’ was the most common response.

In 2022 the number of people that came from a minority ethnic background saw an increase of 8.2% from the 2011 Census to 12.9%. This figure includes all those from an ethnic minority background including Polish, Irish, Gypsy/Traveller and Roma groups. The increase in people from minority ethnic backgrounds was driven by increases across several different groups.

Without people who migrated into Scotland since 2011 there would have been a decrease in the overall population, however it grew by 2.7%. As with the rest of the UK, the Scottish population is aging, there are now over 1 million people aged over 65, the younger age groups show more people who were born outside Scotland as a percentage.

All the tables and metadata are available through our searchable platform along with all the releases from the England, Wales and Northern Ireland 2021 census and data from censuses back to 1971. 

Scotland’s Census is a vital resource for policymakers, researchers, and communities. It informs decisions related to public services, infrastructure, and social programs. By understanding population trends and household structures, we can better address the needs of this diverse population. 

The NRS outputs schedule has releases all through Summer and Autumn of 2024:

13 June 2024 – Armed Forces veterans 

27 June 2024 – Sexual orientation and trans status or history 

August 2024 – Demography and migration 

August 2024 – Housing 

September 2024 – Education, labour market and travel to work 

September 2024 – Health, disability and unpaid care

As soon as data is released it will be in

The full list of this release:

UV101b – Usual resident population by sex by age (6 categories) 

UV102b – Age (20 categories) by sex 

UV103 – Age by single year 

UV201 – Ethnic group 

UV201b – Ethnic group (19 categories) by age (6 categories) 

UV202 – National Identity 

UV202b – National identity by sex by age (6 categories) 

UV203 – Multiple ethnic groups 

UV204b – Country of birth (14 categories) by sex by age (6 categories) 

UV205 – Religion 

UV205b – Religion (12 categories) by sex by age (6 categories) 

UV206 – Passports held 

UV206b – Passports held (9 categories) by sex by age (6 categories) 

UV208 – Gaelic language skills 

UV208b – Gaelic language skills (2 categories) by age (6 categories) 

UV209 – Scots language skills 

UV209b – Scots language skills (7 categories) by age 

UV210 – English language skills 

UV210b – English language skills (6 categories) by age (6 categories) 

UV211 – British Sign Language (BSL) skills 

Uv211b – British Sign Language (BSL) skills by age (6 categories) 

UV212 – Main language 

UV212b – Main language (5 categories) by age (6 categories) 

UV406 – Household size 

About the author

Dave Rawnsley is Senior Technical Co-ordinator for the UK Data Service. He leads the UK Data Service Aggregate Data Unit, based at Jisc.

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