Key facts from the 2001 Census

The results from Scotland's Census in 2001 highlighted a number of key points:


An ageing population
Of the 5,062,011 residents in Scotland on census day, 36 per cent were under 30 compared with 41 per cent in the 1991 Census.

Fewer married people
The proportion of the population who were married (including remarried and separated) fell from 58 per cent in 1991 to 54 per cent in 2001. The proportion widowed fell from ten to nine per cent and the proportion whose marital status was divorced rose from five to seven per cent.

Households and families

Households getting smaller
On average there were 2.27 people per household compared to 2.44 per household in 1991.

Fewer married couple families and more cohabiting couples
Dependent children were more likely to be in a cohabiting couple or lone-parent family than in 1991.


Large increase in owner occupation
The proportion of householders owning their own accommodation rose from 52 to 63 per cent between 1991 and 2001. The proportions varied considerably across council areas from over 80 per cent ownership in East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire to less than 50 per cent in Glasgow City.

Cultural attributes

More English-born in Scotland
Nearly 13 per cent, or one in eight, of the population was born outwith Scotland, an increase from nearly 11 per cent in 1991. Most people born outwith Scotland were born in England. Eight per cent of the population was born in England compared with seven per cent in 1991.

Census data on religion
For the first time in 2001 the census asked two questions on religion - religion of upbringing and current religion. For religion of upbringing the largest groups were Church of Scotland (47 per cent), None (18 per cent), and Roman Catholic (17 per cent). The equivalent percentages for current religion were 42 per cent, 28 per cent, and 16 per cent respectively.

Illness and health

Large increase in recorded long-term illness/disability
In 2001, 20 per cent of the population indicated that they had a long-term illness, health problem or disability that limited their daily activities or the work they could do, a considerable increase on the 14 per cent reported in 1991.

More poor health in social rented and rent-free sectors
The 2001 Census asked a new question about general health over the previous twelve months. Looking at responses to general health in combination with household tenure, the highest proportions listing health as 'not good' were found in the social rented sector and in households living rent free (both 18 per cent compared with 10 per cent for all people in households).

Economic activity

Fewer men in full-time employment
The proportion of males in full-time employment fell from 55 per cent in 1991 to 51 per cent.

Glasgow City had most unemployed
Relatively high numbers of unemployed people, as a proportion of those who were economically active, were found in Glasgow City (10 per cent). Dundee City, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire (all nine per cent). The lowest rate of unemployment was in the Shetland Islands (three per cent).

One in 10 a carer
A new question on the 2001 Census asked about the amount of time people spent providing care or unpaid help to a family member, friend or neighbour because of long-term physical or mental ill-health or disability (including problems related to old age).

Over a fifth of working women employed in health and social work
The health and social work industry contained over 20 per cent of all female workers.


More households with cars
About a third of households were without access to a car or van - a fall from over two-fifths in 1991.

Other 2001 facts and figures

  • 2001 was the first time householders could post back questionnaires instead of having them collected by a census taker (enumerator).
  • The average age in Scotland was 38 with an average of 37 for men and 39 for women.
  • In 2001 the biggest age group was 30 to 44.
  • There were over 52,000 babies under one-year-old.
  • Less than one per cent of the population was over 100-years-old.
  • The two oldest people recorded were both 109.
  • The average age of people living alone was 58.
  • There were almost 2.2 million households and more than 500,000 owned their accommodation outright.
  • Almost 5,000 people lived in caravans, mobile homes or other temporary structures.
  • 13 homes in Scotland had 90 rooms or more.
  • The average number of people living in households was 2.27.
  • Six households had 20 or more people living in them.
  • 18,034 households had four or more vehicles.
  • There were more than 26,000 full-time students aged 30+.
  • More than 93,000 people could speak, read, write or understand Gaelic.
  • More than one million people stated they had a limiting long-term illness.
  • The average number of hours worked was 37 hours per week.
  • More than 2 million people were in employment.

Detailed results from the 2001 Census are available through the Standard Outputs page in the Census Data Explorer.