Projected population change to vary across Scotland, says National Records of Scotland

More than half of Scotland’s council areas (18 out of 32) are expected to see population growth over the 10 years between mid-2018 and mid-2028 with the remainder projected to face depopulation, according to new statistics.

Projected population change to vary across Scotland, says National Records of Scotland

More councils are projected to experience population decline than in previous projections (14 councils now compared to 8 councils in the previous 2016-based projections).

The figures published by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) in the Population Projections for Scottish Areas, 2018-based are based on the latest mid-2018 population estimates and provide an indication of the future population size and age structure of Scottish areas based on past trends and a set of assumptions about future fertility, mortality and migration.

Alan Ferrier, head of demography statistics, said: “While Scotland’s overall population is projected to increase over the next decade, there is variation across Scotland, with some councils projected to decline in population.  In many areas of Scotland, the number of births are projected to continue to be lower than deaths, highlighting that migration remains the key driver of population increase.”

Scotland’s population growth is projected to be predominantly in the central belt and urban areas, with areas in the East surrounding the City of Edinburgh growing at the fastest rate.

Population decline is projected to mainly be in the West and South West of the country.

Migration continues to drive projected increases in population in most areas. By mid-2028, 30 council areas are projected to have more people arriving than leaving. Overall 18 councils are projected to increase in population, as natural decline (more deaths than births) exceeds net migration in some areas. 

In most areas, there is projected to be a natural decline, with deaths projected to be higher than births. Only five councils are projected to have natural population growth.

Scotland’s population is projected to age, with the population of people aged 75 years and older projected to increase in all areas.

The report breaks down further the projected population of Scotland, published at Scotland and UK level on 21 October 2019, which showed that Scotland’s population is projected to increase by 1.8% from 5.44 million in mid-2018 to 5.54 million in mid-2028.

An infographic summarising the key points of the NRS report and an interactive data visualisation comparing population projections between Scottish council areas are available on the NRS website.

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