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Scotland: Quiet outpost of Europe

Recerca | 26/03/2008

The case of Scotland

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Historical depopulation is being compensated by recent immigration. Foreigners are still few (1%), even when adding long-established ethnic groups (3% total). The atmosphere is relaxed, but animosity towards islam and rising figures could change the picture.


Scotland has traditionally been a country of emigrants rather than immigrants. The trend is being reversed since the 2000s, due to increased economic progress, giving a net inflow of newcomers. Up to date, this gain is modest in overall terms, accounting for approximately just 1% of the population.

There is, however, a somewhat greater amount of people (2%) belonging to the so-called Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) communities. These groups are of diverse origins, broadly corresponding with former colonial possessions, and most of them are second or third-generation British nationals. Attitudes and perceptions do not always distinguish between immigrants and such long-established citizens.

Interaction between groups is generally smooth, allowing for no major political expressions of xenophobia. Individual racist incidents, however, are on the rise, blending with a greater uneasiness in regard to Islamic radicalism. The media impact of hotter situations in other parts of the UK perhaps contributes to this development.

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