Section 3: Examination Of Indicators Of Structural Disadvantage
- This section considers whether there is any evidence of structural disadvantage (or the inequality in opportunity one would expect to arise if there were systemic discrimination) due to sectarianism. It does this by conducting 3 main tasks. Firstly, it uses the latest Census information (2011) to look at the demographic differences between Catholic and Protestant (defined as Church of Scotland) populations in Scotland. Secondly, it looks at data from a range of sources (2011 census, Scottish Household Survey, Labour Force Survey, and Scottish Crime and Justice Survey) to compare outcomes across a range of key variables including income, health and employment status. Lastly, it reports on a statistical analysis of the data (logistic regression) which allows the assessment of the relative impact of religion (or more specifically 'Catholicism') compared with other key demographic and socio-economic variables in terms of 'predicting' economic outcomes. The combination of these three tasks allows for an initial assessment of structural disadvantage.
- Consideration of the demographics of Catholic and Protestant populations from the latest census, found that there are some marked differences in the make-up of these two populations. Catholics had a younger age profile than those affiliated the Church of Scotland, indeed this has become slightly more marked between the 2001 and 2011 censuses. Catholics also had a more diverse ethnic identity and were more likely to have been born outside of the UK than those affiliated with the Church of Scotland. Catholics were also more likely than Church of Scotland affiliates to have dependent children and to be lone parents. Some of these differences are likely to be related (i.e. younger people are more likely to have dependent children), however it is important to note these differences between the 2 populations as they are likely to provide an explanation for other measures (i.e. younger people may be expected to be more likely to have better health).
- Analysis of Census and other national survey data was conducted to investigate evidence of disadvantage for either Catholics or those who belong to the Church of Scotland. This showed that there is little difference in terms of income, occupational class or educational attainment, and some indication (when comparing the 2001 and 2011 census results) of an improving picture. In terms of health, this seems to be the case, with tentative indications that, although Catholics were historically more like to suffer poor health, these differences may be disappearing. Examination of economic activity data showed that although unemployment rates were higher among Catholics than those affiliated with the Church of Scotland, they were in line with the Scottish average, with Muslims most likely of all groups to be unemployed. In 2011, as in 2001, Catholics were more likely than those of the Church of Scotland to rent their homes, be the victims of crime and experience imprisonment, although these differences may (at least partly) be attributed to the higher proportion of Catholics living in the most deprived areas.
- Evidence shows that differences are more apparent amongst older generations than younger generations. This suggests that the socio-economic position of Catholics has improved over time, with recent census data providing tentative support for this contention (in terms of education and health). However, further sweeps of the census will shed light on whether this is indeed the case and the apparent trend continues, or whether, there is an 'age effect' and disadvantage only becomes apparent as people get older.
- Consideration was also given to how far religion (or more specifically Catholicism) was an 'explanatory' factor in terms of predicting outcomes in terms of "education or employment". Results of a logistic regression analysis which explored this found that 'individual' variables (gender, lone parent, ethnicity, health, qualifications) had the biggest impact on economic outcomes. These did not change greatly when 'Catholicism' was controlled for, and only changed slightly when regional effects were accounted for. However, there does appear to be a slight generational difference, with Catholicism found to have a positive, but marginal effect on economic outcomes for young people aged 16-24, but a negative (again marginal) effect for older people aged 50-64. This does not mean that the younger Catholic population is 'more successful' or indeed 'less successful', than the non-Catholic population. It simply shows that 'individual' effects, and not 'Catholicism', have a stronger association with economic outcomes. While it is recognised that there are a number of limitations to the regression analysis (including the dichotomous categories of 'Catholic' and 'non-Catholic'), based on the models as specified, evidence suggests that 'individual' factors (i.e. gender, lone parent, ethnicity, health and qualifications) have a greater effect than religion in shaping economic outcomes, with no evidence found to suggest persistent anti-Catholic discrimination.
This section updates previous evidence which explored whether there is evidence to suggest that sectarianism manifests itself in structural disadvantage (or the inequality in opportunity one would expect to arise if there were systematic discrimination). It does this by firstly comparing Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland populations in terms of key demographic factors that should be borne in mind in consideration of any differences, then examines a number of salient outcomes such as health, education, employment and housing, and finally, it examines the relative impact of religion and other key factors on economic outcomes via exploratory logistic regression analysis.
However, as was previously highlighted in the 2013 review, evidence of differing outcomes for those who belong to the Church of Scotland and Roman Catholics does not provide concrete proof that discrimination based on sectarianism exists. Instead this section allows us to document some of the differences between Catholic and Protestant populations in Scotland, and explore whether sectarian prejudices, attitudes and behaviour of the kind discussed in the previous section, (and also more subtle, indirect and long-term expressions of prejudice), may have contributed to disadvantage for any one particular group.
It is worth reiterating the recent finding from the (2014) Scottish Social Attitudes Survey which showed that although people perceived prejudice against Catholics and Protestants in Scotland to be fairly widespread, they were less likely to believe that this took the form of employment discrimination or in other overt forms of harassment. In relation to whether being a Protestant or Catholic stops someone from getting a job or promotion they deserve, a majority think this 'hardly ever or never' happens in Scotland today: although people were more likely to say this about Protestants (75%) than Catholics (67%). However, of those who thought this was a problem, people tended to be more likely to think that Catholics are the subject of such discrimination than said the same of Protestants. This is in line with overall perceptions that Catholics are more likely to experience discrimination than Protestants.
This attitudinal data suggests therefore, that while there is a perception that certain types of sectarian behaviour is directed towards both groups, people tend to believe that religious discrimination is more commonly directed against Catholics in Scotland. A further caveat to bear in mind is that the level of incidence of such discrimination may not necessarily manifest itself in indicators of disadvantage (unless overwhelmingly targeted at one group). In addition, where there are observed differences between religious groups, it is not possible to attribute these to discrimination/or the legacy effects of discrimination with certainty - i.e. although there may be differences of outcomes between groups within society - this isn't to say that any disadvantage is necessarily caused by discrimination, and it may be driven by other factors. Indeed, as is also explored within this section, there are a number of demographic factors which may drive differing socio-economic outcomes, such as the age composition of different religious groups, and the proportions of people living in urban/rural and deprived areas. In order to investigate the relative impact of these differences on outcomes (as recommended in the 2013 review), we also conducted some exploratory analysis using logistic regression to look specifically at the area of economic activity.
Religion and key demographic factors
The following key demographic factors provide important context in understanding the evidence on possible structural disadvantage and should be borne in mind when understanding the possible reasons for the different socio-economic outcomes presented thereafter.
The increasing secularisation of Protestant communities was previously highlighted as a factor in their older age profile (and possibly their greater affluence). Between 2001 and 2011 there was a further decline in the proportion of people identifying as 'Church of Scotland'  from 42 to 32 per cent of the population, whereas the proportion who identified as Roman Catholic stayed the same (at 16 per cent). In 2011 those affiliated with the Church of Scotland had the oldest age profile overall, with over two thirds of people (69%) aged 40 or over. In contrast just over half of Roman Catholics (51%) were aged 40 or over, in line with Scotland as a whole (52%). A majority (63%) of those who identified as having no religion were aged under 40, as were a number of other religions (including Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim and Hindu).
In terms of the proportion of people in the older age groups, the 2001 census data showed that over a quarter (27%) of those affiliated to the Church of Scotland were of pensionable age or above. Between 2001 and 2011 there was a slight increase (to 29%) in the proportion of those affiliated with the Church of Scotland in the older age groups (or 65+). This contrasted with the age profile of the Roman Catholic population, which showed a slight decline in the proportion of those who were pensionable age/65+ respectively: from 17% in 2001 to 15% in 2011. Some caution should be attached to these figures however, as they are not directly comparable in terms of age bands: in 2001 pensionable age was defined as 60 for women and 65 for men, but for the 2011 analysis, standard age bands are used for both genders (i.e. 65+). Nonetheless, there does appear to be a slight widening of the age gap in terms of the profile of the two groups, which may be attributed to increasing secularisation (particularly amongst the Protestant community), as well as an increase in the proportion of Catholic immigrants, who tend to be younger.
As in 2001, the 2011 census data showed that a much higher proportion of Catholics were under the age of 30 than those affiliated with the Church of Scotland. This is illustrated in figure 9 below. As was previously suggested in the 2013 review, this could go some way to explaining differences in, for example, housing tenure, employment rates, criminal victimisation and imprisonment rates (updated discussion of these indicators based on the 2011 census are discussed later).
Figure 9: Age profile of all people by current religion
Source: 2011 Census, National Records of Scotland (NRS)
Ethnic identity and length of residence in Scotland
Analysis of religion by ethnic group in the 2011 census showed that while the majority of those who identified as 'Church of Scotland' were 'White: Scottish' (96%) and most of the remainder were 'White: Other British' those who identified as Roman Catholic had a more diverse ethnic composition. While 81% of Roman Catholics were 'white: Scottish', a further 6% were 'White Polish', 4% were 'White Irish' and 4% were 'White British' respectively. Given the more diverse ethnic identity among Roman Catholics in Scotland, it is perhaps unsurprising that while the majority of people on census day were born in Scotland (83%), the 'Church of Scotland' group contained the highest proportion born in Scotland (94%). In contrast, 82% of Roman Catholics were born in Scotland with a further 9% born in Europe (non-UK) and 5% who were born in England.
Roman Catholics were also more likely to have been born outside of the UK than those who identified with Church of Scotland (12% compared with 1%). In addition, the majority of Roman Catholic migrants were aged 16-34 when they arrived. Length of residence was previously identified as a factor which may account for socio-economic differences between those identifying as Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic, and 2011 data shows that the 1% of those who identified with the Church of Scotland and were born outside of the UK, had lived in Scotland for ten years or more, in comparison with 12% of Roman Catholics born outside of the UK, 9% of whom had been resident in the UK for less than 10 years, compared with 3% who had been resident for 10 years or more. Overall then, a significant proportion of the Roman Catholic population has been resident for a shorter period in Scotland.
Shorter residence in Scotland for certain groups is likely to have implications for a range of outcomes. This is best illustrated in terms of what we know about the 6% (61,000 people) who identified as 'White: polish'. Over three quarters (77 per cent) of this group were Roman Catholic and had a very different age profile to the general population, with 42 per cent in the 25-34 age band. Census data also showed that this group had different characteristics from the population as a whole. They were the most economically active, the most likely to be in low level jobs and the least likely to be students. They had low levels of home ownership and tended to private rent rather than social rent. They were also more likely to live in flats, urban areas and in deprived areas.
SHS data from 2011 showed that a slightly higher proportion of Roman Catholics were female than those who belonged to the Church of Scotland (41% and 38% respectively), a factor which was previously highlighted as possibly behind differing outcomes (i.e. in terms of employment) between the two groups. However, the 2011 census data shows that Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland religions both had higher proportions of women than men 54% as compared with 46% respectively (same figures for both). This was in contrast to 'no religion' which had a higher proportion of men: 52% as compared with 48%).
Previous analysis of the 2001 census data showed that a smaller proportion of Catholics were married than those affiliated with the Church of Scotland (47% compared with 55%). This was also the case in 2011, although with lower proportions for both groups (43% of Catholics compared with 53% for Church of Scotland). However, the 2011 data on marriage broken down by age shows that Roman Catholics in the younger age groups were more likely to be married than their Church of Scotland Counterparts (11% of those aged 25-34 compared with 5%, and 34% of those aged 35-49 compared with 25%). This trend was reversed among those aged 50+ though, and was more pronounced among the older age groups (i.e. 14% of Roman Catholics aged 65-74 were married compared with 21% of Church of Scotland and 12% of those aged 75+ were married compared with 6% of Roman Catholics).
While 42% of people in Scotland lived in a household with dependent children, this compared with a slightly higher proportion of Roman Catholic households (44%), and a much lower proportion (32%) of those who identified as Church of Scotland. However, the younger age profile of Roman Catholic people (as compared with those who identified with Church of Scotland) should be borne in mind in consideration of this difference. It is also worth noting that the proportion with dependent children has fallen for both groups since 2001 (from 47% of Roman Catholics and 36% of Church of Scotland).
The 2001 census showed that Roman Catholic families were more likely to be lone parent, than those who were Church of Scotland. This was again the case in 2011, with 24% of Roman Catholics living in lone parent households, compared with 18% of Church of Scotland. Although this was in line with the figure for 'all people' in Scotland (24%) and slightly lower than those with no religion (26%).
Comparison of key variables by religion
This section updates previous analysis (contained within the 2013 evidence review), mainly using the 2011 census to find out how far there are differences between the groups in terms of key variables such as education, employment and housing. Where possible, it also provides comparison with 2001 data to find out if there has been change over time. This section draws upon recent Scottish Government analysis of the 2011 census data as well as earlier analysis of the 2001 census data for comparative purposes. As the Census data are the most robust and comprehensive source of information, the review is focussed mainly on the 2011 data, supplemented by 2013 Scottish Household Survey (SHS) data on income (as there is no question on this in the census), as well as Labour Force Survey data on economic activity for 2013 (as the range of questions contained makes it the most accurate source of data on levels of employment).
Looking first at area deprivation, the Scottish Government report 'Overview of Equality results from the 2011 census' explored whether any particular groups were over-represented in Scotland's most deprived areas. Figure 10 below shows the proportion of each religious group who lived in Scotland's most deprived areas in 2011 (with figures based on the 15% most deprived data zones). Within the 'Christian' group, people who recorded as 'Church of Scotland' (12 per cent) were much less likely to live in deprived areas than those who identified as 'Roman Catholic' (23 per cent). In fact, Catholics had the highest proportion (of all groups) living in the most deprived areas. Those with no religion had a similar proportion living in deprived areas to the Scotland average, although there was substantial variation across different religious groups, with Jewish people least likely to live in a deprived area (6 per cent). Muslims were most likely, after Roman Catholics, to live in the most deprived areas (18 per cent).
Figure 10: Percentage of each religious group in most deprived areas in Scotland, 2011
Source: Scottish Government (2014) - 'Overview of Equality results from the 2011 Census: Release ''. Chart 2.8
The Census also provides data on the proportion of each religious group living in the most and the least deprived deciles, with comparable data available for 2001 to explore any change over time. In 2011 the proportion of Roman Catholics living in the most deprived decile was double that of those affiliated with the Church of Scotland (16% compared with 8% see table 5). This pattern was also apparent in 2001. However, there was a slight fall, by 3 percentage points in the proportion of Roman Catholics living in the most deprived decile between 2001 and 2011 (from 19% to 16%). The proportion of people affiliated with the Church of Scotland living in the most deprived decile remained the same between 2001 and 2011, at 8%. In 2011 (as in 2001), there were also relatively high proportions of Muslims living in the most deprived area (13% in 2011). The proportion of people affiliated with the Church of Scotland/Roman Catholics living in the least deprived decile remained relatively stable between 2001 and 2011 however.
Table 5: Proportion of each religious group living in each SIMD decile, 2011
| || Decile 1 Most Deprived || Decile 10 Least Deprived |
| Church of Scotland || 8 || 10 |
| Roman Catholic || 16 || 7 |
| Other Christian || 6 || 13 |
| Buddhist || 9 || 13 |
| Hindu || 7 || 15 |
| Jewish || 4 || 37 |
| Muslim || 13 || 11 |
| Sikh || 8 || 14 |
| Another || 9 || 8 |
| No religion || 9 || 10 |
| Not answered || 10 || 10 |
Source: Scottish Government (2014) 'Overview of Equality Results from the 2011 Census Release 2' - concise summary of chart 2.9
The 'Social focus on deprived areas' (Scottish Executive 2005) study suggested that the reasons why those from Roman Catholic and Muslim religions are over-represented in the most deprived areas are complex and attributable to a range of reasons, including educational attainment, health and labour market outcomes. It also highlighted the fact that these groups tend to live in more urban areas (which generally have higher levels of deprivation). Indeed, 2011 census data showed that majorities of Roman Catholics and Muslims lived in 'large urban areas' (54% and 79% respectively), compared to under a third of those affiliated with the Church of Scotland (31%), and less than four in ten of 'all people' (39%) and those who had no religion (38%).
The 2011 census includes information on housing tenure. Examination of this data showed that a majority of Catholic and Church of Scotland households are home owning, but that Catholics are less likely to own their own homes compared with those affiliated with the Church of Scotland (62% compared with 74%). Consideration of 2001 census data suggests a slight widening of the gap in terms of home ownership between these two groups from 2001 to 2011 and an increase in the proportion of Church of Scotland home owners (by 4%). This may partly be attributed to the older age profile of the Church of Scotland group, the increase in the 'white Polish' population and the higher proportion of Roman Catholics living in areas of deprivation. However, it is also worth noting that although the proportion who owned their own home was lower for Roman Catholics than that of the 'All people' average figure for Scotland (67%), it was the same as 'No religion' and higher than Muslim, Buddhist, Other Religion and Hindu (groups who had the lowest rates of ownership overall).
Table 6: Home ownership by religion - people in households aged 16+ 2001 and 2011
| || 2001 || 2011 |
| Roman Catholic || 62% || 62% |
| No Religion || 66% || 62% |
| All || 67% || 67% |
| Church of Scotland || 70% || 74% |
Source: Scottish Government (2015) 'Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census: Part 2': Chart 3.14 (concise summary)
The 2011 data also showed that, of all religious groups, Roman Catholics were most likely to live in social rented accommodation: 25%. This was higher than the average figure for Scotland (21%), higher than those affiliated with the Church of Scotland (19%), and those who had no religion (22%).
The census also allows exploration of the proportions of people living in overcrowded or under-occupied accommodation, based on occupancy rating. While almost a tenth (9%) of households in Scotland were overcrowded, there was substantial variation across different religious groups. In 2011 the proportion of Roman Catholics living in overcrowded accommodation was double that of Church of Scotland households (12% compared with 6%). The overcrowding rate for Roman Catholics was slightly higher than those with no religion (10%) and the average Scotland figure (9%). However, comparison with 2001 census data shows that there has been a fall in the proportion of people in Catholic and Church of Scotland households which are overcrowded (by 4% for each group). In 2001 16% of Catholic households were overcrowded compared with 10% of Church of Scotland. However, Muslim households were consistently the group most likely to live in over-crowded accommodation (27% in 2011 and 33% in 2001).
Exploration of levels of educational attainment by religion shows that Roman Catholics were slightly more likely to have achieved the highest level of qualifications (level 4 qualifications: degree, postgraduate qualifications, Masters, PhD, SVQ Level 5 or equivalent or professional qualifications), than those affiliated with the Church of Scotland (24% compared with 22%). Both Roman Catholics and people affiliated with the Church of Scotland had lower proportions in the most highly qualified group than the Scottish average (26%), although those who were affiliated with the Church of Scotland had the lowest proportion of all groups qualified to the highest level. At the opposite end of the scale, those affiliated with the Church of Scotland were the group most likely to have no qualifications (35%). While a lower proportion of Roman Catholics had no qualifications (30%), it is worth noting that both groups had higher proportions with no qualifications than the Scottish average (at 27%). Analysis of census data from 2001 showed little difference in educational attainment between Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic groups, while the most recent 2011 data shows a slight widening of the gap between the two with Roman Catholics faring slightly better6.
Table 7: Religion by Highest Qualification - all people aged 16+
| Religion || No Qualifications || Level 1 || Level 2 || Level 3 || Level 4 |
| Church of Scotland || 35% || 22% || 13% || 9% || 22% |
| Roman Catholic || 30% || 23% || 13% || 10% || 24% |
| All people || 27% || 23% || 14% || 10% || 26% |
| No religion || 19% || 25% || 17% || 11% || 28% |
Source: Scottish Government (2015) 'Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census: Part 2': Chart 3.12: (concise summary)
However, when 2011 data is broken down by age, differences between the Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland groups becomes apparent. Comparison of the proportions who have no qualifications (or non-standard qualifications - see table 8) shows that there was little difference between Catholic and Church of Scotland adherents aged 16-24 and 25-34 (9% and 8% for both age groups respectively). However, for those aged 35-49, 50-64 and 65-74 there were higher proportions of Roman Catholics with no qualifications than those of the Church of Scotland (higher also than the Scottish average and those who had no religion). Those with no religion aged 35+, tended to be less likely to have no qualifications than the Scottish average, and for each of the two comparative groups.
Table 8: Proportion of people with no qualifications by current religion 2011
| No Qualifications (or non-standard qualifications) || 16-24 || 25-34 || 35-49 || 50-64 || 65-74 |
| Church of Scotland || 8 || 8 || 16 || 35 || 56 |
| Roman Catholic || 9 || 9 || 21 || 40 || 64 |
| No religion || 8 || 8 || 16 || 30 || 50 |
| All people || 8 || 8 || 17 || 33 || 55 |
Source: 2011 census, NRS
Comparison with 2001 data (see table 9) again showed little difference for those aged 16-24 but with differences becoming apparent earlier, for those aged 25+, with Catholics consistently more likely to have no qualifications than their Church of Scotland Counterparts. However, there has been a substantial fall in the proportions of people who have no qualifications between 2001 and 2011 overall, and a narrowing of the gap between the proportion of Catholics and those affiliated with the Church of Scotland who have no qualifications.
Table 9: Proportion of people with no qualifications by current religion 2001
| No Qualifications (or non-standard qualifications) || 16-24 || 25-34 || 35-49 || 50-64 || 65-74 |
| Church of Scotland || 12 || 15 || 28 || 54 || 66 |
| Roman Catholic || 13 || 19 || 35 || 61 || 76 |
| No religion || 11 || 15 || 25 || 44 || 63 |
Source: 2001 census, NRS
The Census records economic activity, thus allowing the economic activity, employment and unemployment rates to be calculated and compared across religions (see table 10 below). Consistent with the ILO definition, economic activity refers to the proportion of the working age population who are working, or not working but looking for work (and able to start within 2 weeks). While comparison is made between 2001 and 2011, it should be noted that the 2001 rates are based on those 16 - pensionable age (defined then as 60 for women and 65 for men), whereas for the 2011 analysis, as pensionable age has been equivalising in recent years for men and women, analysis has been done by standard age bands (i.e. 16-64) for both genders.
The 2011 data shows that 77% of those affiliated with the Church of Scotland were economically active, the same proportion as the average 'all Scotland' rate and a similar proportion to Roman Catholics at 76%. In 2001 those who were 'Church of Scotland' had a higher economic activity rate than those who were Roman Catholic, (76% and 71% respectively). The 2011 data showed that those who had 'no religion' were most likely to be economically active (79%), and Muslims were least likely (59%). A pattern which was also apparent in 2001.
Employment rates were highest among those affiliated with the Church of Scotland and those with no religion (72% and 71% respectively) and lower among Roman Catholics (69%). However, it is worth noting that the employment rate for Roman Catholics was only one percentage point lower than the average figure for Scotland (70%) and higher than all other religious groups (with Muslims having the lowest employment rate at 50%). Consideration of earlier census data shows that the gap between those affiliated with the Church of Scotland and Catholics has narrowed (in 2001 the employment rates for Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic were 72% and 65% respectively).
In terms of unemployment rates, Catholics had a higher rate in 2011 than those who were 'Church of Scotland' (8% and 6% respectively - similar to the 2001 figures - although the figures are not directly comparable). However the unemployment rate for Catholics was the same as for those of 'no religion' and close to the 'all people' average figure at 7%. It was also considerably lower than Muslims (who had the highest unemployment rate of all at 12%).
Table 10: Economic Activity by Current Religion
| Religion || Economic Activity Rate || Employment Rate || Unemployment Rate |
| Church of Scotland || 77% || 72% || 6% |
| Roman Catholic || 76% || 69% || 8% |
| All People || 77% || 70% || 7% |
| No Religion || 79% || 71% || 8% |
SOURCE: 2011 Census, NRS
The most robust source of recent data on employment outcomes is the Annual Population Survey, which collates the quarterly data included in the Labour Force Survey. The range of questions contained in the survey on economic activity and employment makes it the most accurate source of data on levels of employment. The most up to date statistics are set out in the table below.
Table 11: Economic status by religion for Scotland 2013
| Religion || Economic activity rate || Employment rate || Unemployment rate |
| All || 79% || 71% || 8% |
| Church of Scotland || 85% || 72% || 5% |
| Roman Catholic || 79% || 70% || 8% |
| No religion || 76% || 72% || 8% |
Source: APS - Jan-Dec 2013, ONS
Economic activity rates were lower for Roman Catholics than for those affiliated with the Church of Scotland (79% compared with 85%). However, the rates for Roman Catholic were in line with the average Scotland figure (79%) and slightly higher than those who recorded no religion (76%). There was little change between 2012 and 2013 in the economic activity rates for Roman Catholic and Protestant (78% and 84% respectively).
The employment rate was also slightly lower for Catholics than for those affiliated with the Church of Scotland at 70% and 72% respectively, as well as compared with those of no religion (72%) and the average Scotland figure (71%). In 2012 employment rates were slightly lower for both groups, with a similar gap between the two, 68% for Catholics and 71% for Church of Scotland.
In 2013 the unemployment rate among Roman Catholics was the same as the average figure for Scotland and for those with no religion (at 8%). However, Roman Catholics had a higher unemployment rate than those affiliated with the Church of Scotland (5%). This has declined for both groups since 2012 (with a similar gap: 9% and 6% respectively).
Although some commentators contend that, historically, Roman Catholics in Scotland have been predominantly working class, analysis of the census data 2001 showed that in terms of social status (most commonly measured by occupation), there was little difference between Catholics and those affiliated with the Church of Scotland with very similar proportions across the occupational groupings. A similar picture is evident from the 2011 data (with the caveat that the 2001 and 2011 findings are not directly comparable). However, figure 11 below shows that a slightly lower proportion of Roman Catholics were in managerial/senior roles than those affiliated with the Church of Scotland (7% compared with 9%), although this was in line with the average Scotland, and no religion figure (both 8%). At the opposite end of the scale, Roman Catholics had a slightly higher proportion in elementary positions than those of the Church of Scotland (14% compared with 11%). The proportions in the other occupational groupings were broadly similar between the two groups although those who were Church of Scotland were most likely to be in skilled trades (14% - 3 percentage points higher than Roman Catholic). It is perhaps worth noting that the occupational profile of those associated with the Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic religions tended to be in line with the 'Scottish average', with greater divergence among other religions such as Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and others.
Figure 11: Religion by Occupational Group - all people aged 16-74 in Employment, Scotland 2011
Source: Scottish Government (2015) 'Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census - Part 2' Chart 3.2.
This data was not available broken down by age group, and as has been suggested previously, may mask some key differences across the different age groups. While earlier work by Paterson based on the 1997 election survey, which explored the occupational class of Catholics in Scotland found that while there was a social class difference between older Catholics, no difference was apparent for younger groups (for either gender). He also found that although poorer educational attainment could partly explain difference across the older age groups, it could not account for all. It was therefore suggested that employment discrimination could provide some explanation for this pattern, with younger cohorts no longer adversely affected in the way that previous generations were. However, an alternative explanation put forward within the 2013 review is that occupational disadvantage and barriers may only become fully apparent with age. Later work by Paterson and Ianelli using the 2001 SHS also found little difference in social status between younger cohorts of Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland groups and similar levels of social mobility (even across the older cohorts). They concluded that the relationship between educational attainment and social status suggested that there was no divergence in rewards by religion, suggesting that the labour market was operating in a meritocratic way.
Due to the fact that there is no question on income in the Census, analysis of income data within the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) 2013 was conducted. The survey is designed to provide data on income band, rather than average income or earning, however, information on the income of the highest income householder and their partner can be ascertained. The data shows that (in line with analysis of 2011 SHS data), there is no statistically significant difference between Catholics or Protestants for each of the household income bands and that Catholics are not disadvantaged in terms of income.
Table 12: Net Annual Household Income - by (Christian) Religion
| Religion || 0-£10,000 || £10,001-£20,000 || £20,001-£30,000 || Over £30,000 || Base= 100% |
| Church of Scotland || 12% || 31% || 23% || 34% || 3040 |
| Roman Catholic || 9% || 34% || 23% || 35% || 1,380 |
| Other Christian || 9% || 31% || 23% || 37% || 820 |
| Another religion/other || 14% || 36% || 23% || 28% || 240 |
| None || 10% || 27% || 24% || 39% || 4140 |
| All adults || 10% || 30% || 23% || 37% || 9620 |
Source: Scottish Household Survey, 2013. Random adult dataset.
The census also records data on self-reported general health. The survey asked people to rate their health as being: very good; good; fair; bad or very bad. In 2011 80% of Roman Catholics recorded their health as good or very good, in comparison with a slightly lower proportion - 78% of those of the Church of Scotland. In addition, Roman Catholics were more likely to describe their health as 'very good' than those from the Church of Scotland (52% compared with 46%). The proportion who rated their health as bad/very bad however was the same, at 7% for both groups.
Those who had no religion were more likely than Roman Catholics/ people affiliated to the Church of Scotland to say their health was good/very good (87%) and had lower proportions who rated their health as bad/very bad 4%. They also had higher proportions rating their health as very good/good than the average Scotland 'all people' figure (82%).
Table 13: Self-Reported General Health by Religion
| || Very good/Good || Fair || Bad/very bad |
| Roman catholic || 80% || 13% || 7% |
| Church of Scotland || 78% || 16% || 7% |
| All || 82% || 12% || 5% |
| No religion || 87% || 12% || 4% |
Source: Scottish Government (2011) 'Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census' Chart 3.30 (concise summary)
The 2011 census data (which are the most comprehensive source of information on the status of religious groups within Scotland), suggests that there is little divergence between the two groups in terms of self-reported health, with Roman Catholics slightly more likely to report 'very good/good' health. However, it is important to recognise that the Roman Catholic population has a younger age profile overall, and that self-reported health is closely correlated with age.
Data on the self-reported health of those of different religions is also available from the Scottish Health Survey (SHeS), although standardised by age - to ensure that comparisons are not confounded by the different age profiles of the key religions. In line with the 2011 census the SHeS asked respondents to rate their health according to one of the following categories: very good, good, fair, bad or very bad. The data from 4 consecutive years (2008-2011) was combined in a topic report on equalities to allow more in depth analysis of sub-populations. Analysis of the data showed a different picture, that respondents whose religion was Church of Scotland were slightly, more likely to rate their health as good or very good (78%) than the Scottish average (76%) and that Roman Catholics were less likely to do so (72%).
The Census also asks about limiting long term health problem or disability which may affect daily activities and have lasted or are expected to last for at least 12 months. Figure 12 below shows that Roman Catholics had a lower proportion with a limiting long term health problem or disability than those who were Church of Scotland in 2011 (21% compared with 26%) and that the gap between the two groups has widened since 2001 (24% for Church of Scotland and 23% for Roman Catholic). Both groups had higher proportions with a limiting long-term health problem or disability than those with no religion and the average figure for Scotland in 2001 and 2011.
Figure 12: Long-term Limiting Health Problem or Disability by Religion, Scotland, 2001 and 2011
SOURCE: Scottish Government (2014) 'Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census' Part 1: Chart 3.25:
The higher proportions of Church of Scotland adherents with a limiting long- term health problem or disability is likely to largely reflect the older age profile of its population. It is useful therefore to consider the data broken down by age group and whether patterns have changed over time.
In 2001 (see table 15 below) Roman Catholics had higher levels of limiting long-term health problems or disability across all age bands, but the differences were slight for those aged 0-29, becoming wider for those aged 30-49, and most marked for those aged 50-pensionable age and pensionable age, where the gap was widest. The gap between women of Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland religions tended to be slightly less marked than that of men (except for pensionable age to 74 where the gap was similar for men/women).
In 2011 (see table 14 below) the differences for those aged 0-29 were negligible, and although Roman Catholics had higher proportions with a limiting long-term health problem or disability across the older age groups, the gap had narrowed slightly across all age ranges, with the difference most noticeable for those aged 65-74 (9% points higher for Roman Catholic men and 10.1% points higher for Roman Catholic women). While there is still an observable generational difference, health differences have become slightly less apparent for the younger age groups (those under 50). Some caution should be attached to comparison between older age groups however, as in 2001 pensionable age was defined as 60 for women and 65 for men, while for the 2011 analysis, the standard age bands are used for both genders (i.e. 50-64).
Table 14: Long-term limiting health problem or disability by religion 2011
| Religion || Gender || Age 0-29 || 30-49 || 50-64 || 65-74 || 75+ |
| Church of Scotland || Male Female || 6.4 5.1 || 12.9 13.4 || 24.7 25.3 || 40.4 39.1 || 62.6 67.8 |
| Roman Catholic || Male Female || 6.1 5.2 || 13.9 14.7 || 29.8 31.0 || 49.4 49.2 || 68.0 73.0 |
| No religion || Male Female || 6.4 5.2 || 11.4 13.0 || 22.6 25.4 || 38.9 40.8 || 61.4 67.6 |
| All people || Male Female || 6.3 5.1 || 12.3 13.6 || 24.8 26.6 || 41.3 41.4 || 63.5 69.4 |
Source: 2011 Census, NRS
Table 15: Long-term limiting health problem or disability by religion 2001
| Religion || Gender || Age 0-29 || 30-49 || 50-Pensionable Age || Pensionable Age-74 || 75+ |
| Church of Scotland || Male Female || 5.9 4.9 || 12.8 12.9 || 30.1 25.5 || 46.1 39.5 || 60.7 66.5 |
| Roman Catholic || Male Female || 6.8 5.7 || 16.4 16.4 || 41.3 35.5 || 56.5 50.2 || 67.7 72.2 |
| No religion || Male Female || 6.3 5.3 || 11.8 12.4 || 27.4 26.1 || 46.6 42.2 || 61.7 65.6 |
| All religions || Male Female || 6.2 5.2 || 13.2 13.6 || 13.1 27.6 || 47.9 42.0 || 62.3 67.8 |
Source: 2001 Census, NRS
Whether Catholics suffer worse health relative to other groups was also investigated within the Twenty-07 Study, with a particular focus on Irish Catholics as opposed to non-Catholics. As summarised in the 2013 'Examination of the evidence on sectarianism', some of the data revealed significant divergence on most aspects of health between Irish Catholics and non-Catholics. Abbots also found that mortality among Irish Catholics exceeded those of other groups for most causes of death, particularly in relation to cardiovascular disease. Further analysis by Abbots et al found that health disadvantages for Irish Catholics were more pronounced with age (with very small differences in the youngest age group aged 18, greater differences in the middle aged group 38 and the largest differences for those aged 58). The previous review stressed that this did not constitute evidence that health differentials between Irish Catholics and non-Catholics have decreased over time. Indeed, it was suggested that because self-reported good health is highly correlated with age, it is possible that health differentials will widen over time.
Overall, then the most recent (2011) Census data on general health shows that a slightly higher proportion of Roman Catholics recorded their health as good or very good, in comparison with a slightly lower proportion of those affiliated with the Church of Scotland (80% compared with 78%), and reported lower proportions of limiting long-term health problems or disability (21% compared with 26%). However, these results are largely driven by the younger age profile of the Roman Catholic population overall. Analysis of limiting long-term health or disability broken down by age and compared between 2001 and 2011 suggests that although Roman Catholics still had higher proportions with a limiting long-term health problem or disability across the older age groups (30+), the gap had narrowed slightly across all age ranges. The next sweep of the census data (2021) will reveal whether or not this improvement in health is part of a longer-term trend.
Data from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS) was disaggregated by religious group to explore whether particular groups were more likely to be the victims of crime. Due to small base sizes, it was only possible to break down the data by the response categories: No religion, Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic, Other Christian and other religion. Data from the SCJS 2012-13 again showed that Catholics were more likely to have been the victims of crime than the other religious groups - 20% of Catholics who responded to the survey (and gave their religion were victims of crime compared with 13% affiliated with the Church of Scotland,. It is worth noting however, that those with no religion had the same victimisation rate as Roman Catholics (at 20%).
Table 16: Victims of crime by religious group
| Religion || % victims of crime || Base |
| None || 20% || 4468 |
| Church of Scotland || 13% || 4526 |
| Roman Catholic || 20% || 1740 |
| Other Christian || 16% || 820 |
| Other religions || 18% || 377 |
| Total || 17% || 12045 |
Source: Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2012-13
It was previously suggested that differences in victimisation rates may be (at least partly) attributed to the risks of criminal victimisation being higher in more deprived areas. The SCJS 2012-13 found that risk of crime victimisation for those living in the 15% most deprived areas of Scotland was 21% compared with 16% of those living in the rest of Scotland. According to the 2011 census data, Roman Catholics in particular have the highest proportion of people (16%) living in the most deprived decile compared with all other religions (and those with no religion) which may go some way towards explaining higher crime victimisation rates.
The previous review highlighted how some commentators have argued that the criminal justice system discriminates against people of Irish origin, and that Catholics are disproportionately represented among the prison population. The most recent figures available suggest that although this was indeed still the case in 2015, whereby Catholics represented around 16% of the Scottish population, and 22% of the prison population, there has been an overall fall since 2001 when Catholics comprised the same proportion of the population (16%) and 28% of the total prison population. In proffering an understanding of why this relationship exists, Wiltshire (2010) contends that it is likely a direct result of the fact that offenders are more likely to come from deprived backgrounds. As has been shown earlier in the report, Catholics had the highest proportion of people living in the most deprived areas in Scotland in 2011.