National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

8% of Scotland’s population are non-British nationals

8% of Scotland’s population are non-British nationals

Friday, 17 Sep 2021
Demography News Release Image

National Records of Scotland published new figures today which estimate that during 2020, 8% of Scotland’s population (406,000 people) were non-British nationals.

61% of non-British nationals living in Scotland in 2020 were from the EU.

In 2020, Polish was the most common non-British nationality in Scotland, with 92,000 Polish nationals. This represented 23% of the total non-British population.

During 2020, the council areas with the largest proportion of non-British nationals were Aberdeen City (20%), City of Edinburgh (19%) and Glasgow City (12%).

The full publication ‘Population by Country of Birth and Nationality for Scotland, 2020’ can be accessed on the NRS website. This includes information on the number of non-British nationals and non-UK born living in Scotland and each council area.    

Background Notes    

These estimates are sourced from the Annual Population Survey (APS) so there is sampling variability and a degree of uncertainty with the results.

A new weighting method has been introduced to the survey, which calibrates to UK, EU and non-EU-born populations from January 2020. Due to this, users are advised to use caution when making comparisons. More information can be found in the main report and metadata file on the NRS website.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have also today published estimates for Population by Country of Birth and Nationality for the UK as a whole in 2020; these are available on the ONS website.

This publication provides estimates of the number of non-British nationals and the non-UK born population living in Scotland in 2020. They are not directly comparable with estimates of migration flows. For statistics relating to migration flows (the number of migrants moving to or from Scotland over a period of time) please visit the NRS migration flows tables.

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Ewan Mathieson
NRS Communications
Tel: 07949 441311
Email: [email protected]

Further information about the statistics is available from:

NRS Customer Services
Email: [email protected]