Type to search

Why is ginger hair so rare?

Who doesn’t love meeting other glorious members of the 2% club? In fact, I think that it is one of my most favourite things to do. But unfortunately, it doesn’t happen as often as I would like. 

Natural redheads are very rare specimens, who only make up less than 2% of the global population. That amounts to around 140 million people worldwide, out of the global population of 8 billion, being born with natural ginger locks.

Red hair is known as the rarest hair colour in the world!

Records show that Scotland has the highest proportion of natural redheads in the world. It’s estimated that 13% of the Scottish population is made up of natural redheads.

Ireland is a close second, with 10% of the Irish population being ginger.

In England however, roughly 4% of the population have red hair. That is only around 2.2 million people, out of the English population of roughly 56 million. 

But why is being ginger so rare?

Well, the only way a person can have red hair, is if the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene is somewhere in their long line of genetics.

The MC1R gene is a recessive gene, meaning both sides must carry it, but it can also be masked by more dominant genes, so can often seem like it ‘skips a generation’. See the below table for more information:

To be born with a 100% chance of having natural red hair, both of your biological parents must be ginger – other dominant genes are not really at play, so the ‘ginger gene’ can shine through.

And, here’s a fun fact for you. Despite ginger hair often being associated with fair skin, anyone of any race can be born with natural red hair!

Count yourself lucky for being a proud member of the (less than) 2% club!

Enhance and care for red hair using Gingerful

Created for redheads, by redheads.


Ginger Parrot is ready and raring to report on all things nice and gingerful, and provides an online store too, offering Ginger Parrot merchandise, clothing, hair products, gifts and more for the redhead and redhead lover community.