0131 550 1561 office@veteransscotland.org.uk

Scotland’s Census – UK Armed Forces veterans

A total of 176,100 UK Armed Forces veterans were living in Scotland at the last census, according to new statistics from National Records of Scotland.

It is the first time census data has been collected on veterans living in the country.

The figure means 3.9% of people aged 16 and over at the time of the census had previously served in the UK Armed Forces. The census in England and Wales found a similar percentage (3.8%) said they had served.

In Scotland, half of all veterans (50.4%) were aged 65 and over and just under one third (30.6%) were aged 50 to 64.

Director of Census Statistics for NRS Jon Wroth-Smith said:

“This is the first time Scotland’s Census has ever collected data on veterans. It provides a unique insight enabling governments, local authorities and charities to shape support for veterans and their families.”

“The high percentage of veterans in the oldest groups is explained by war service up to 1948 and National Service which operated from 1939 to 1960. Around one in five people aged 85 and over had previously served in the UK Armed Forces. If we look specifically at males, we see that over half of all males aged 85 and over had previously served.”

While the majority of veterans in Scotland were male (88%), the census recorded 20,600 female veterans across Scotland.

The local authorities with the highest percentage of the population that were veterans tended to be areas with larger military bases, showing some veterans stay in the area where they were based.

Moray has the highest with 9.0% of the population aged 16 and over having previously served. In City of Edinburgh and Glasgow City council areas veterans make up a smaller proportion of the population but they are among the areas with the largest numbers of veterans. Fife, the third biggest council area by population, had the highest number of veterans with 17,200.

6.7% of households in Scotland included at least one UK Armed Forces veteran. This data helps direct support not just to them but to their families too.

The majority of veterans in Scotland (72%) served in the regular UK Armed Forces.  A further 22% served in the reserve Armed Forces and 6% served in both.

Later in the year NRS will release census data on further topics including housing, employment and health. In the winter a new tool will be added to the website allowing the census data on various topics to be analysed for particular groups of people like veterans.

Scotland’s Census – UK Armed Forces veterans | Scotland’s Census (scotlandscensus.gov.uk)