Click on image to return to General Register Office for Scotland - Homepage

You are in: HomeNews2009Scottish Population Continues to Rise

News Release

Scottish Population Continues to Rise


28 April 2009

National Statistics Logo

Mid-2008 Population Estimates Scotland

The estimated population of Scotland was 5,168,500 in mid-2008. This was a rise of 24,300 on the previous year.

Commenting on the publication of "Mid-2008 Population Estimates, Scotland”, Registrar General for Scotland Duncan Macniven said:

“Scotland’s population continued to rise in the year ending in June 2008. The increase was slightly less than in the previous year - over 24,000 rather than over 27,000. But births exceeded deaths by almost 4,000, almost 4 times as much as the previous year. Migration accounted for the remaining increase – but that was less than the record 27,000 net migration in 2006-07.

”Net migration from the rest of the UK was up on the previous year – 11,500 compared with 8,800.  But international migration was down from a net 16,800 to a net 7,700, mainly because of an increase in the number of people leaving Scotland.”

Main findings

  • The estimated population of Scotland on 30 June 2008 was 5,168,500, a rise of 24,300 on the previous year and the highest since 1981;

  • Between mid-2001 and mid-2008, Scotland’s population increased by 2.1 per cent (+104,300) from 5.06 million to 5.17 million; 

  • Between mid-1998 and mid-2008, Scotland’s population increased by 1.8 per cent (+91,430) from 5.08 million to 5.17 million;

  • In the twelve months up to 30 June 2008, the number of births exceeded the number of deaths by 3,900, the largest natural increase since 1991-92;

  • Over the year there was a net migration gain of 20,000 people. This includes net gains of 11,500 people from the rest of the UK, 7,700 people from overseas (including asylum seekers) and 800 people from the armed forces;

  • Over the year 38,500 people (including asylum seekers) came to Scotland from overseas and 30,800 left Scotland to go overseas. The net gain of 7,700 is lower than the record gain of 16,800 in 2006-07 because more people left Scotland;

  • The net gain from the rest of the UK exceeded that from overseas. Over the year 53,300 people came to Scotland from England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 41,800 left Scotland to go in the opposite direction. The net gain of 11,500 is greater than the previous year’s 8,800 net gain because more people came to Scotland and fewer left;

  • Among Council areas, between mid-2007 and mid-2008, East Lothian had the largest percentage population increase at +1.8 per cent followed by Perth & Kinross (+1.4 per cent) and Midlothian (+1.3 per cent). Argyll & Bute had the largest percentage population decrease at -0.9 per cent, followed by Eilean Siar and Inverclyde each with a percentage decrease of -0.4 per cent;

  • Among NHS Board areas, Lothian (+1.0 per cent), Borders (+0.9 per cent) and Grampian (+0.8 per cent) had the largest percentage population increases. The only NHS Board area to have experienced a decline in population was Western Isles (-0.4 per cent);

  • In the year to mid-2008, the city Council areas experienced net losses of migrants to the rest of Scotland. However, more migrants came to the city Council areas from both the rest of the UK and from overseas than went in the other direction;

  • There were 66 people per square kilometre in Scotland, ranging from 9 persons per square kilometre in Eilean Siar and Highland Council areas to 3,329 persons per square kilometre in Glasgow City Council area.

Media Enquiries for this news release.


Page last updated: 28 April 2009


If you have any comments about this website please use our contact form.

© Crown Copyright 2014