Scotland’s population growing and ageing

Scotland’s population reached its highest ever level last year with migration the main reason behind the growth.

A report published by National Records of Scotland revealed that Scotland’s population was 5,424,800 in 2017, although population growth has slowed.

Overall, Scotland’s population is projected to rise and age, but with some areas projected to face depopulation.

Life expectancy has increased over the past three decades, but has stalled in recent years.

There were just over 5,000 more deaths than births in 2017.

Amy Wilson, director of statistical and registration services at National Records of Scotland, said: “The Registrar General’s Annual Review, published every year since 1855, gives us a chance to reflect on our changing population and demographic trends.

“This year’s review shows that while the population of Scotland is at its highest ever, at 5.42 million, and has grown by 5% over the last decade, this growth rate has slowed. Over the latest year, Scotland’s population has grown at a slower rate than on average over the past 10 years. This is because of reduced migration levels as well as an increase in the number of deaths and decrease in the number of births.

“However, Scotland’s population is still projected to increase to 5.58m in 2026, and to continue rising to reach 5.69m in 2041. We expect this growth to be entirely reliant on migration, as the number of deaths are projected to continue to be higher than the number of births.”

Scottish Labour’s Health spokesperson Anas Sarwar MSP said the figures reveal the challenges Scotland faces in terms of an ageing population.

He added: “While more people living longer is a good thing, it will also put a greater strain on public services, particularly health and social care which are already under pressure.

“Also evident is the impact of Scotland’s health inequalities, with people from the most deprived areas facing shorter life expectancies and experiencing a greater burden of disease.

“That is why it is vital we use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to seriously tackle poverty and inequality, as well as invest in our lifeline services now to ensure they have the resources needed to deal with continually increasing demand.

“And, given Scotland’s increasing reliance on migration, it is also why it is essential we secure a Brexit deal that respects the rights of those EU citizens who live and work in Scotland.”

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