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© StockSnap/Pixabay

The Changing Face of Scotland: What's Driving Its Ethnic Diversity?

Picture of Tasnim Nazeer
Freelance Journalist
Updated: 4 November 2017

Scotland has a diverse and multicultural society with an increase in ethnic diversity which enables the region to celebrate one another in keeping with its rich heritage, and increase better interfaith understanding. According to a study that was conducted in Scotland back in 2014, ethnic diversity was growing, with the report finding that one in six Scottish households contained two or more multi-ethnic nationalities.

There has also been a rise in international cuisine in Scotland with more and more varieties of different restaurants serving up Middle Eastern, Polish, Spanish and the good old Indian curries.

Dr Andrew Smith, senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Glasgow, had stated that: “The presence of the large ‘other British’ minority reminds us that ethnicity is not a matter of colour, but might be used to describe different aspects of our background and sense of who we are. What the analysis also reveals is that Scotland’s growing diversity is not producing ‘polarised islands of different groups’ but a ‘mosaic of differently mixed areas.”

Ethnicity in general has been defined as “shared origins or social background; shared culture and traditions that are distinctive, maintained between generations, and lead to a sense of identity and group; and a common language or religious tradition”. Ethnic diversity is important in spearheading opportunities and introducing other cultures that can bring value and enhance the overall richness of a multicultural society in Scotland.

The last major census that was carried out in Scotland on ethnic diversity showed that there were 19 categories of ethnicity that people felt they belonged to and these included White Scottish, White Irish, Indian, Indian Scottish, Pakistani, Pakistani Scottish and so on. According to the report on Scotland’s 2011 census, ethnic groups made up 4% of Scotland’s national population.

Living in the city of Glasgow, the multicultural diversity of different ethnic groups makes the place what it is – a wonderful celebration of people, culture and traditions that we all feel proud of. What really matters is not race, background, religion or any other factor, but the ability to live with one another in peace.

What is the main driver for the growing ethnic diversity? Immigration and family building have been the number one reason which has been noted in a report by the ESCR Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity. People have come to Scotland either from other parts of the UK, overseas to work or study in higher education.

Families have had generations of families in Scotland and, as their children grow up and create their own households, they too add value to Scotland’s growing ethnic diversity. Scotland should be proud to have an ethnic and multicultural society that is flourishing and growing, as individuals contribute to the betterment of society at large.