Pagans & the Scottish Census of 2001

The Scottish Census of 2001 set a precedent by including questions on religious identity. This made it possible to hope for the first accurate statistics on the number of Pagans in this country. During 2000 the Pagan Federation (Scotland) was one of many national religious organisations consulted on the form these questions should take, pressing unsuccessfully for a Pagan ‘tick-box’ to be included alongside those provided for Buddhists, the major Christian denominations, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs.

In the course of this we learned that our government did not intend to provide a complete analysis of the results. Statistics for the religions provided with ‘tick-boxes’ in the Census form under Q13 and Q14 were to be published as part of the normal census output. Any analysis of religious identity within the Another Religion ‘write-in’ boxes provided on the form would need to be privately commissioned by those seeking the information.

We regarded this as religious discrimination and, between 2000 and 2003, Scottish PF lobbied the General Register Office for Scotland and relevant ministers to have complete statistics on religious identity published as part of the normal Census output. When that failed, Scottish PF presented a petition (PE600) to the Scottish Parliament for a count of the number of Pagan responses to be made and freely published. This was rejected by the Public Petitions Committee on 25th February 2003, although assurances were received that consideration would be given to the possibility of more complete publication of information from the next Census in 2011.

On 18th March 2003, the Scottish Council of the Pagan Federation launched a fund raising campaign to pay for an analysis of the relevant parts of the 2001 Census, estimated at ~�2000. This campaign was very generously supported by the Pagan community both inside and outside the PF. Fund raising was completed by early March 2004, and the statistics obtained on 24th March 2004. The relevant extracts are given below:

PLEASE NOTE: The numbers given for individual Pagan traditions (Wiccan, Druidism, etc.) will significantly underestimate the proportion of Pagans in these traditions. This is because uncertainty regarding access to the data led Scottish PF to advise all Pagans to identify as ‘Pagan’ rather than by individual traditions. They cannot be taken as providing an accurate breakdown of the Scottish Pagan community by tradition.

Q.13 'What religion, religious denomination or body do you belong to?'

'Another Religion' i.e. other than Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim or Sikh.
(Total responses = 24,050)

PAGAN   1,930
Made up of:  
PAGAN   1,140
WICCAN   248
WICCA   155
PAGAN OTHER   133
PANTHEIST   60
DRUIDISM   53
ANIMISM   28
PAGAN WICCAN   27
SHAMEN   19
PAGAN WICCA   17
CELTIC PAGAN   15
NEO PAGAN   13
HEATHEN   12
SPIRITUAL PAGAN   10

To be absolutely accurate, we should probably add the following three categories to the above total, but they were not included in the list of possible Pagan identification terms Scottish PF Council provided to the GRO and are thus not formally grouped therein. Their inclusion would not significantly affect the figures.

DISCORDIANISM 12
GAIAN 10
NATURE 14

Selected comparisons from Q13 'Another Religion'

BAHAI 421
BRAHMA KUMARI 11
HARE KRISHNA 25
JAIN 50
JEDI 14,052
NEW AGE 37
RASTAFARIAN 47
SATANISM 53
SCIENTOLOGY 58
SHINTOISM 27
SPIRITUALIST 868
SUFISM 13
TAOIST 162
ZOROASTRIAN 56

Q13 data already published as part of normal Census output

NO RELIGION 1,394,460
BUDDHIST 6,830
CHRISTIAN 3,294,545
HINDU 5,564
JEWISH 6,448
MUSLIM 42,557
SIKH 6,572
Not Answered 278,061
(Total population of Scotland: 5,062,011)

Q.14 'Religion of Upbringing?'

'Another Religion'� i.e. other than Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim or Sikh.
(Total responses = 7,077)

PAGAN 219
Made up of:  
PAGAN 155
PAGAN OTHER 52
WICCA 12

Selected comparisons from Q14 'Another Religion'

BAHA’I 245
BUDDHIST 14
JAIN 49
JEDI 2,733
RASTAFARIAN 11
SATANISM 15
SCIENTOLOGY 14
SHINTOISM 23
SPIRITUALIST 135
TAOIST 59
ZOROASTRIAN 49

Q14 data already published as part of normal Census output:

NO RELIGION 887,221
BUDDHIST 4,704
CHRISTIAN 3,676,325
HINDU 5,921
JEWISH 7,446
MUSLIM 42,264
SIKH 6,821
Not Answered 422,862

[The comparable figure for Pagans in England & Wales in 2001 is 40,332. No figures for Religion of Upbringing are available for England & Wales.]


The complete Census analysis from which the above figures are selected is available here.


Source: General Register Office for Scotland, 2001 Census Commissioned Table. Crown copyright 2004. Crown copyright material is reproduced here with the permission of the Controller of HMSO.


The Pagan Federation (Scotland) gratefully acknowledges the unfailing courtesy and helpfulness of the staff of the General Register Office for Scotland in this matter.

The Pagan Federation (Scotland) is deeply appreciative of the dedicated, enthusiastic and generous support shown by so many Pagan groups and individuals across Scotland and beyond in this campaign.

Issued on behalf of the Scottish Council of the Pagan Federation, 25th March 2004.

The Pagan Federation (Scotland)
PO Box 14251,
Anstruther
KY10 3YA
Scotland