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14/05/14 09:30

Population Projections for Scottish Areas

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s population is projected to continue to rise by about 9 per cent over the next 25 years, but not at an even rate across the country.

Statistics published today by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show the population of 20 of the 32 Council areas in Scotland are projected to increase, while the population in the other 12 are projected to decrease. The Council areas with the greatest projected increase in population are Aberdeen City and City of Edinburgh (both +28 per cent) followed by Perth & Kinross (+24 per cent). Inverclyde (-19 per cent) and Argyll & Bute (-13 per cent) have the largest projected decreases.

The report provides projections for the 25 year period 2012-2037. They show what happens under certain assumptions about future fertility, mortality and migration. The assumptions are based largely on past trends and although they will reflect past policy and economic impacts, they do not take account of future changes that may occur as a result of policy initiatives at a local or national level.

Main findings

Principal projection

The population of Scotland is projected to rise by 9 per cent over the next 25 years, from 5.31 million in 2012 to 5.78 million by 2037, and continue to rise into the future. But this pattern is not to be experienced in all areas of Scotland. Some areas are projected to increase in size while others to decrease.

  • The population of 20 of the 32 Council areas in Scotland are projected to increase while the population in the other 12 are projected to decrease. The Council areas with the greatest projected increase in population are Aberdeen City and City of Edinburgh (both +28 per cent) followed by Perth & Kinross (+24 per cent). Inverclyde (-19 per cent) and Argyll & Bute (-13 per cent) have the largest projected decreases.
  • Scotland’s population is projected to age and this is true for all administrative areas to a greater or lesser extent.
  • The number of children aged 0-15 is projected to increase in 12 of Scotland’s 32 Council areas, with the biggest increases projected for Aberdeen City (+45 per cent) and East Lothian (+28 per cent). The biggest decreases are projected for Inverclyde (-32 per cent) and Eilean Siar (-28 per cent).
  • The population of working age is projected to increase in 13 Council areas and decrease in 19, increasing the most in City of Edinburgh (+28 per cent) and decreasing the most in Inverclyde (-29 per cent).
  • The population of pensionable age is projected to increase in all Council areas, with the largest increases being projected in West Lothian (+47 per cent) and Shetland Islands (+44 per cent), and the smallest increase is projected in Dundee City (+6 per cent).

Variant projections

It is hard to estimate how many people might migrate to Scotland in the future therefore 7 alternative variant projections have been produced along with the principal projection.

  • The high migration variant projection shows what would happen if Scotland were to gain larger numbers than expected through migration. The populations in 25 Council areas would rise under this variant. The greatest increase is projected for City of Edinburgh (+38 per cent), closely followed by Aberdeen City (+36 per cent) and Perth & Kinross (+30 per cent). The largest decrease is again projected for Inverclyde (-18 per cent), followed by Argyll & Bute (-9 per cent).
  • The low migration variant projection shows the population if Scotland were to gain smaller numbers through migration than expected. The population of 16 Council areas are projected to rise under this variant. Again the greatest increase is projected for Aberdeen City, City of Edinburgh and East Lothian (all +20 per cent), and the largest decreases in Inverclyde (-22 per cent) and Argyll & Bute (-19 per cent).
  • The zero migration variant projects the population as if migration was not to have any effect at all. Under this variant the population of 11 Council areas is projected to rise, and the largest increases are projected for West Lothian (+6 per cent), Shetland Islands (+3 per cent), Clackmannanshire (+3 per cent) and Midlothian (+3 per cent). The largest decreases are projected for Eilean Siar (-9 per cent), Argyll & Bute and South Ayrshire (both -8 per cent).
  • Fertility variants use higher or lower fertility rates than what is assumed for Scotland. Under the high fertility variant , the population of 25 Council areas are projected to increase, with the largest increases projected for Aberdeen City and City of Edinburgh (both +32 per cent), and the largest decrease projected is for Inverclyde (-17 per cent). Under the low fertility variant, the population of 16 Council areas are projected to increase. City of Edinburgh is projected to have the largest increase (+26 per cent), and Inverclyde is projected to experience the biggest population decline (-21 per cent).
  • Life expectancy variants suggest what might happen to the population if mortality rates improved more or less than assumed. Under the high life expectancy variant, the population of 22 Council areas are projected to increase, with the largest increases projected for Aberdeen City (+30 per cent) and largest decrease projected for Inverclyde (-18 per cent). The low life expectancy variant projects the population of 17 Council areas to increase, and the same areas are projected to experience the biggest increases and decreases as under the high life expectancy variant: City of Edinburgh and Aberdeen City (both +27 per cent) are projected to show the largest increase, while Inverclyde (-21 per cent) is projected to show the largest decrease.

Notes to editors

Working age and pensionable age populations based on State Pension Age (SPA) for a given year. Between 2012 and 2018, SPA will change from 65 years for men and 61 years for women, to 65 years for both sexes. Then between 2019 and 2020, SPA will change from 65 years to 66 years for both men and women. Between 2034 and 2046, SPA will increase in two stages from 66 years to 68 years for both sexes. This is based on SPA under the 2011 Pensions Act.

  1. The National Records of Scotland (NRS) was created on 1 April 2011, and incorporates the former General Register Office for Scotland and National Archives of Scotland. It is responsible for producing statistics on Scotland’s population. This is a National Statistics publication. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference. Population projections were assessed by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) in May 2011, along with other population and demographic statistics for Scotland.

  2. These statistics can now be confirmed as designated National Statistics, subject to meeting the requirements set out in the assessment report. Today’s report gives projected population figures for administrative areas in Scotland. The full publication (and previous years population projections can be downloaded from the National Population Projections section of the NRS website. More information on the National Population Projections for the United Kingdom are available from the ONS website.

  3. Because the projections are based on uncertain information about the number of births, deaths and migrants far in the future, nine variants have been published. These variant projections are based on alternative assumptions of future fertility, mortality and migration, and give users an indication of the inherent uncertainty of demographic behaviour, especially for the long-term projections. All the variants show an initial increase in the population. And all but the natural change only (zero migration) variant show an increase over the 25 years of the projection. All the variants show Scotland’s population ageing significantly over the next 25 years.

  4. The figures for working age and pensionable age take into account the increases in the state pension age as set out in the 2011 Pensions Act. Between 2012 and 2018, the state pension age will rise to 65 for women. Then between 2019 and 2020 , it will rise from 65 years to 66 years for both men and women. A further rise in state pension age will take place in two stages between 2034 and 2046 to bring the state pension age from 66 to 68. The data presented here do not reflect proposed further changes to the state pension age published by the UK government. They propose bringing forward the increase to State Pension age 67, to be phased in between 2026 and 2028. These proposed changes are not yet law and still require the approval of the UK Parliament. Further information regarding these changes can be found at: www.gov.uk/changes-state-pension.

  5. National population projections are prepared by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on behalf of the Registrars General for England & Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The assumptions are agreed in liaison with the devolved administrations, following consultation with key users of projections in each country and advice from an expert advisory panel. The 2012-based national population projections were announced in a news release issued on 6 November 2013 and the results can be found on the National Records for Scotland website. Projected populations for administrative areas of Scotland, consistent with the national projections, have been prepared by the Registrar General for Scotland and are the subject of this news release.

  6. The latest projection is based on the Registrar General’s mid-year population estimates for 2012 and replaces the previous 2010-based sub-national population projections. The projections are the result of assumptions made about future fertility, mortality and migration patterns based on past trends. Therefore the projections are not a prediction of what will happen, but simply a projection of what would be the outcome on the basis of particular assumptions.

  7. Projections are produced every two years.

  8. The projections for the administrative areas of Scotland summarised in this booklet are also available by single year of age and sex for each year of the projection period, 2012 to 2037, from the detailed tables section on the National Records of Scotland website.

  9. Further statistics on Scotland’s population can be accessed in the Statistics section of the NRS website.

10. Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff. General information about population statistics can be accessed in the About our Statistics section of the NRS website.

Further information about the statistics is available from:

Customer Services

National Records of Scotland

Ladywell House

Ladywell Road

Edinburgh EH12 7TF

Tel: 0131 314 4299

E-mail: customer@gro-scotland.gsi.gov.uk

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