Religion in Scotland

As recent as the 2011 census, Christianity was the largest religion in Scotland. In the 2011 census, 53.8% of the Scottish population identified as Christian (declining from 65.1% in 2001) when asked: "What religion, religious denomination or body do you belong to?". The Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian denomination often known as The Kirk, is recognised in law as the national church of Scotland. It is not an established church and is independent of state control. However, it is the largest religious grouping in Scotland, with 32.4% of the population according to the 2011 census. The other major Christian church is the Catholic Church, the form of Christianity in Scotland prior to the Reformation, which accounts for 15.9% of the population and is especially important in West Central Scotland and parts of the Highlands. Scotland's third largest church is the Scottish Episcopal Church.[1] There are also multiple smaller Presbyterian churches, all of which either broke away from the Church of Scotland or themselves separated from churches which previously did so. According to the 2019 Scottish Household survey, since 2009, there has been an increase in the proportion of adults reporting not belonging to a religion to 56%. The trend of declining religious belief coincided with a sharp decrease since 2009 in the proportion of people who report that they belong to the Church of Scotland, from 34% to 20% of adults. Furthermore 13% (slightly down from 15% in 2009) reported belonging to the Catholic Church.[2][3]

Other religions have established a presence in Scotland, mainly through immigration and higher birth rates among ethnic minorities. Those with the most adherents in the 2011 census are Islam (1.4%), Hinduism (0.3%), Buddhism (0.2%) and Sikhism (0.2%). Minority faiths include the Baháʼí Faith and small Neopagan groups. There are also various organisations which actively promote humanism and secularism, included within the 36.7% who indicated no religion in the 2011 census. In 2017, the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, conducted by ScotCen Social Research found that 58% of Scots identified themselves as non-religious, compared to 40% in 1999.[4][5] Since 2016, secular humanists have conducted more weddings in Scotland each year than either the Catholic Church, Church of Scotland, or any other religion.[6]

Adherence to religion in Scotland has been declining over the past decade, and this trend continued into 2019; over half of adults (56%) reported that they didn't belong to any religion. The proportion reporting that they didn't belong to any religion a decade previously in 2009 was just 40%.[7]