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1 26th September 01:18
ian morrison
External User
Posts: 1
Default Census figures for Gaelic speaking

I've just been having another look at the endlessly fascinating Scottish
Census Results Online website (

Comparing the "Gaelic speaking" 2001 results with those for 1991 in
Craig's s.c.s. FAQ, where possible (the former regions, such as
Grampian, have disappeared) gives the following results:

Percentage of Gaelic speakers
1991 2001
Argyll & Bute 7.23% 4.58%
Borders 0.45% 0.35%
Dumfries & Galloway 0.35% 0.31%
Fife 0.44% 0.32%
Highland 7.39% 6.09%
Orkney 0.48% 0.48%
Shetland 0.47% 0.44%
Western Isles 67.23% 59.78%

In other words, a decline everywhere except Orkney, and alarmingly steep
drops in the Gaelic island strongholds.

However, the figures for the central belt are more encouraging:

Glasgow 0.96% 1.00%

(the latter figure represents about 5,800 individuals, by my reckoning)

and for the Lothians (actual numbers, not percentages, as per Craig's
1991 figures):

Edinburgh 3089 3140
East Lothian 322 342
Midlothian 227 251
West Lothian 567 571

It seems as if efforts to promote and teach Gaelic in our cities and
their respective hinterlands is paying off, though it will take quite a
few West Lothianers to make up for the declining numbers in the Western
Isles and Argyll & Bute!

Ian O.

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