Chapter 1 - Population
The latest estimate of Scotland’s population (on 30 June 2010) is 5,222,100 – the highest since 1977 and an increase of 28,100 people on the previous year. There are almost 170,000 more people in Scotland than in 2002, when the population hit its lowest level since just after the Second World War.
The recent increase in Scotland’s population has been driven mostly by net in-migration although, recently, there have also been more births than deaths. In the twelve months to 30 June 2010, in-migration exceeded out-migration by just under 25,000. This included a net gain of around 3,300 from the rest of the UK and a net gain of around 21,500 from overseas (including asylum seekers). People joining and leaving the armed forces contributed a net gain of around 200. In the same period, there were 5,188 more births than deaths (58,937 births and 53,749 deaths), the largest natural increase since 1991-92.
The rise in Scotland’s population in the last eight years, and projected changes over the next two decades described below, should be seen in the context of the relative stability of the population over the last 50 years, as shown in Figure 1.1. The population reached a peak of 5.24 million in 1974 before falling to 5.05 million in 2002 and then rising again in the last eight years.
Figure 1.2 shows the trends in natural change (births minus deaths) and migration. Between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s, both natural change and net out-migration fell dramatically, although the natural increase generally remained greater than net out-migration. This resulted in a growth in population up to 1974. From that point on, through the late 1970s and the 1980s, net out-migration was higher than the natural increase, causing the population to decline. In recent years the trend in natural change has reversed and Scotland has experienced record levels of net in-migration resulting in small increases in the population over each of the last eight years.
The age/sex composition is one of the most important aspects of the population, as changes in the number of men and women in different age groups will have different social and economic impacts. For example, increases in the elderly population are likely to place a greater demand on health and social services.
Figure 1.3 shows the age structure of the population in 2010. Seventeen per cent of the population was aged under 16, 66 per cent was aged 16 to 64 and 17 per cent was aged 65 and over. Amongst older people, particularly those aged over 75, the higher number of females reflects the longer expectation of life for women, partly as a result of male mortality rates during the Second World War. The sharp peak at age 63, and the bigger bulge between the ages of around 40 and 50, are the result of the two baby booms of 1947 and the 1960s. The small bulge between 20 and 30 are the children of the baby boomers which is known as the echo effect.
The changing age structure of Scotland’s population over the last ten years is illustrated in Figure 1.4. During this period the population has increased by just under 160,000 (3.1 per cent), from 5.06 million to 5.22 million. The ageing of the population is evident from the decrease in population aged under 16 (-7 per cent) and the increase of those aged 45-59 (+14 per cent), those aged 60-74 (+13 per cent) and those aged over 75 (+14 per cent).
Changes within Scotland
The map at Figure 1.5 shows the percentage change in population between 2000 and 2010 for each Council area.
The Council area with the greatest fall in population was Inverclyde where the population declined by 4,890 (-5.8 per cent). West Lothian (+9.6 per cent) and Perth & Kinross (+9.5 per cent) saw the greatest percentage increases, while the largest increase in absolute numbers was in City of Edinburgh (+37,690).
The relative importance of migration and natural change differs between areas. In some areas of population increase, such as West Lothian, City of Edinburgh and Aberdeenshire, the gain is attributable both to migration and to natural increase. East Lothian, Fife and Stirling experienced a population increase because of in-migration combined with a very low natural change. In other areas, the population increase is due to in-migration, despite the number of deaths exceeding the number of births. These included Perth & Kinross, Scottish Borders and Orkney Islands.
Similarly, some areas of population decline, such as Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire have experienced population decreases both from migration and natural change. In other areas such as Eilean Siar, Argyll & Bute and North Ayrshire the population decline was mainly attributable to more deaths than births. This analysis is shown in Table 1.1, which compares percentage change in population due to natural change and migration across the Council areas.
|Natural change 1||Net civilian migration and other changes 1||Percentage population change|
|Argyll & Bute||-3.8||1.7||-2.0|
|Dumfries & Galloway||-2.8||3.2||0.4|
|Edinburgh, City of||1.0||7.4||8.4|
|Perth & Kinross||-1.6||11.1||9.5|
|1 Change per 100 population at mid-2000. The underlying data used to produce these figures can be found in|
|Table 6 of the 'Mid-2010 Population Estimates Scotland' publication.|
|2 Ordered by population change.|
The latest projections of Scotland’s future population are based on the estimate of Scotland’s population in June 2008. The projections, based on existing trends and making no allowance for the future impact of government policies and other factors, show the total population of Scotland rising from 5.17 million in 2008 to 5.54 million in 2033 (Figure 1.1). Longer term projections show the population peaking at 5.57 million in the mid 2040s.
Until 2026, natural change and migration both act to increase the size of the population as the number of births exceeds the number of deaths and there is net in-migration. After that point, the number of deaths exceeds the number of births, a consequence of the ageing of the population, whilst the net migration into Scotland continues. Figure 1.6 shows the historical and projected future trends of births and deaths in Scotland.
Between 2008 and 2033, Scotland’s population is projected to age markedly. As shown in Figure 1.7, the number of children aged under 16 is projected to decrease by 2 per cent, from 0.91 million to 0.90 million. The number of people aged 60 and over is projected to rise by 50 per cent, from 1.17 million to 1.75 million.
‘Dependency ratios’ are the number of dependants - children aged under 16 and people of pensionable age - per 1,000 working age population. Figure 1.8, which takes account of the increase in the pensionable age for both men and women*, shows little change in these ratios over the next 15-20 years, but a fairly rapid increase in the pension age population relative to the working age population in subsequent years.
As demographic behaviour is uncertain, a number of variant projections of the future population have been calculated, based on alternative assumptions of future fertility, mortality and migration, in addition to the ‘principal projection’ on which the previous paragraphs are based. The variant projections give users an indication of this uncertainty. They illustrate plausible alternative scenarios, rather than representing upper or lower limits of future demographic behaviour. These variant projections, and the assumptions used, can be found on the Office for National Statistics website: www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=8519.
Scotland’s position within Europe
The population of most of the countries in Europe is projected to increase over the next few years. Scotland’s population is projected to rise by 7.3 per cent between 2008 and 2033. The population of Europe (EU-27*) is projected to increase by 5.1 per cent while, the rest of the UK, and certain countries such as Ireland, are projected to have much bigger increases. However Germany, and a number of Eastern European countries, are projecting a population decline as Figure 1.9 shows.
Scotland is not alone in having an ageing population. The pattern of change over the last twenty years, and the projected change in the age distribution, is similar to that of other countries in the UK and Europe, although the rate of change varies.
More information about population statistics
More detailed information about Scotland’s population, including estimates, projections at national and sub-Scotland level, as well as estimates of specific population groups, can be found at: www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/theme/population/