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News Release

Scotland's Mid-Year Population Estimates

31 May 2012


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Scotlandís population reached its highest ever total last year.

Statistics published today by the National Records of Scotland show that the estimated population of Scotland was 5,254,800 in mid-2011, the highest ever.

The figures, based on 2001 Census data, show a rise of 32,700 people on the previous yearís total.

Commenting on the publication of Mid-2011 Population Estimates Scotland, Registrar General for Scotland George MacKenzie said:

ďScotlandís population has reached its highest ever. The increase in the year ending in June 2011 was 32,700. This was the ninth annual increase in a row and the highest annual increase for more than 50 years.

ďThe rise was partly because there were over 4,800 more births than deaths but migration accounted for most of the increase. The net in-flow of 27,000 people equalled the previous highest estimate from 2006-07.

ĒFewer people came to Scotland from the rest of the UK than in recent years Ė a net gain of 2,900. But the net gain of around 25,400 people from overseas was the highest since current estimates began in 1991-92.

These figures are estimates and may be revised once we have the data from last yearís census.Ē

Main findings

  • The estimated population of Scotland on 30 June 2011 was 5,254,800, a rise of 32,700 on the previous year and the highest ever.
  • There were 2,548,200 males and 2,706,600 females. The number of males was the highest ever but the number of females was less than the peak of 2,721,500 in 1974.
  • The population increased because 4,800 more people were born than died, and because immigration exceeded emigration by 27,000. Other minor changes resulted in a gain of 900 people.
  • Over the 10 years between mid-2001 and mid-2011, Scotlandís population increased by 3.8 per cent (+190,600) from 5.06 million to 5.25 million.
  • In the year to 30 June 2011, the number of births exceeded the number of deaths by 4,800, the second largest natural increase since 1991-92.
  • Over the year there was a net migration gain of 27,000 people. This includes net gains of 2,900 people from the rest of the UK, 25,400 people from overseas (including asylum seekers) and a net loss of 1,400 people to the armed forces.
  • Over the year 42,300 people (including asylum seekers) came to Scotland from overseas and 16,900 left Scotland to go overseas. The net gain of 25,400 represents about 1 in 200 (0.5 per cent) of the total population. This net increase is the highest since these estimates began in 1991-92.
  • The net gain from the rest of the UK was less than that from overseas. Over the year, 43,700 people came to Scotland from England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 40,800 left Scotland to go in the opposite direction. The net gain of 2,900 is lower than the previous yearís 3,300 gain because fewer people came to Scotland.
  • Among Council areas, between mid-2010 and mid-2011, City of Edinburgh had the largest percentage population increase at +1.9 per cent, followed by Aberdeen City and Midlothian (both +1.5 per cent), and Perth and Kinross (+1.2 per cent). Inverclyde had the largest percentage population decrease at -0.7 per cent, followed by Moray (-0.5 per cent) and Eilean Siar (-0.4 per cent).
  • Among NHS Board areas, Lothian had the largest percentage population increase (+1.4 per cent), followed by Grampian (+0.9 per cent) and Tayside (+0.8 per cent). The only NHS Board areas to have experienced a decline in population were Western Isles (-0.4 per cent) and Dumfries and Galloway (-0.1 per cent).
  • The median age (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) of the population in Scotland was 41.
  • The median age was lower in big city areas (35 in Glasgow City and City of Edinburgh) than in more rural areas (46 in Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway and Eilean Siar).
  • On average, there were 67 people per square kilometre in Scotland, ranging from 8 people per square kilometre in Eilean Siar to 3,412 people per square kilometre in Glasgow City Council area.

Page last updated: 29 May 2012

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