A new report, commissioned by the Humanist Society of Scotland, reveals that a substantial majority of Scottish people do not hold religious or spiritual beliefs. This majority—around 59 percent—is a significant portion of the population. The research, performed by survey, polled over 1,000 Scottish residents about a range of issues relating to their religious affiliations and beliefs. The substantial sample size and abundance of statistically significant findings marks a remarkable shift in Scottish beliefs.
Among the reports key findings were that most people in Scotland self-identify as non-religious (59%) and that women are more likely to be non-religious (62%) than men (55%). Additionally, most people in Scotland (51%) do not believe in life after death. The majority of the Scottish public do not believe in angels (60%), evil spirits (65%), or divine miracles from a god (67%). Most people in Scotland never pray (53%), and 60% reported they never attend church outside of weddings or funerals.
These figures show how the majority of Scotland’s population do not identify with a religion, nor do they believe in key aspects of spiritual beliefs. By all measures, Scotland is no longer a faith-based country—and it has not been for some time. This is an essential finding to consider when it comes to the provision of public services. For example, providers must ensure they recognize and meet the needs of everyone—religious or not.
These findings are consistent with other recent surveys, such as the 2017 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, which found that 58% of Scots consider themselves non-religious. This survey suggests that the only generation where religious belief was in the majority was the 65y/o+ demographic, of whom only 34% were non-religious. In light of these findings, senior politicians across Scotland must stop claiming the country to be “Christian” as a means of justifying privileges given to religious institutions in politics and social life.
To review the survey tool and report, see the following PDF.