Current Status

The population of Scotland has increased each year since 2001 and is now at its highest ever. For the latest year population growth for Scotland has been lower than that of the EU15 countries. In 2014 the average annual population growth rates since 2007 for Scotland and the EU15 were 0.49 and 0.38 per cent, respectively.

Levels of healthy life expectancy for women and men have been gradually increasing since 1980.  There was an increase of 2.5 years between the baseline year of 2003 and 2013.

Population

 

   To match average European (EU15) population growth over the period from 2007 to 2017

   Supported by increased healthy life expectancy in Scotland over the period from 2007 to 2017

Population

Why is this Purpose target important?

The rate of sustainable economic growth is dependent on three key drivers: Productivity; Participation in the labour market; and Population Growth. Population growth is a key contributor to, and a consequence of, a more vibrant society and a more dynamic economy. It is also particularly vital to maintaining the sustainability of many of our rural and coastal communities.

Scotland, like many countries, is projected to experience a significant demographic shift over the next few decades. This is projected to lead to an increase in the average age of the Scottish population - caused by considerable increases in the number of people of pensionable age, and muted growth in the working age population - between now and 2035. Therefore, in order to prevent adverse impacts on Scotland's economic growth performance it is important that we continue to attract more people of working age to Scotland and make the best use of our potential labour supply through increasing employment. Increasing healthy life expectancy will mean that people live longer in good health, increasing their capacity for productive activity and reducing the burden of ill health and long term conditions on public services and the economy generally.

What will influence this Purpose target?

Population change in Scotland is determined by three key elements:

  • Birth rates
  • Life expectancy
  • Net migration

These are, in turn, influenced by a combination of factors, including the relative levels of economic prosperity and opportunity, quality of life and the provision of key public services.

However, a key lever to help deliver our ambitions around population growth - immigration policy - is currently reserved to the UK Government. It is vital that we have an immigration system that supports the needs of Scottish businesses, universities and ensures long-term economic success and prosperity for Scotland. This would also help tackle Scotland's demographic challenge by not only contributing to redressing the dependency ratio but by enabling resources to be made available to support public services.

What is the Government's role?

Scotland’s Economic Strategy identifies growth in the working age population as having a key role in underpinning sustainable economic growth, and sets out a number of actions which will contribute to Population growth in Scotland. These include:

  • Creating a fair and inclusive jobs market that attracts talented people to live, work and remain in Scotland
  • Ensuring that population growth supports the sustainability of many of our rural and coastal communities
  • Investing to create a supportive business environment that attracts foreign companies and investors
  • Investing to improve the education, skills and health of Scotland’s population
  • Engagement with other countries and international institutions to promote Scotland as a place to live
  • Creating a fairer and more equal society through the delivery of key public services

How is Scotland performing?

For Population Growth Target:

The annual population growth rates for Scotland and the EU15 in 2013-14 were 0.37 and 0.49 per cent respectively resulting in a difference of 0.12 percentage points in favour of the EU15. In the previous period, 2012-13, the EU15 population increased by 0.31 per cent compared to Scotland’s growth rate of 0.27 per cent resulting in a difference of 0.05 percentage points in favour of the EU15. So over the period 2012-13 and 2013-14, the gap between annual population growth rates in Scotland and the EU15 has increased by 0.07 percentage points in favour of the EU15.

Annual Population Growth Rates, Scotland and EU 15, 1999-00 to 2013-14

Difference between Annual Population Growth Rates in Scotland and EU 15, 1999-00 to 2013-14

The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page

Source: Eurostat and National Records of Scotland

Criteria for recent change

This evaluation is based on: any difference in the gap within +/- 0.1 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A movement of 0.1 percentage points or more in Scotland's favour suggests that the position is improving, whereas a movement of 0.1 percentage point or more to Scotland's detriment suggests that the position is worsening.

For Healthy Life Expectancy Target:

Levels of healthy life expectancy for women and men have been gradually increasing since 1980. A new methodology was introduced in 2009. A partial back series calculated using the new methodology shows that levels of HLE based on the new methodology have been increasing at a similar rate to those based on the old methodology.  In 2013 healthy life expectancy for men was 60.8 years, whilst for women the figure was 61.9 years. Average levels of combined healthy life expectancy increased by 0.6 years between 2012 and 2013, from 60.7 to 61.3 years.

Combined Healthy Life Expectancy, 1980-2013

The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page

Note 1 - For more information on the change in the methodology please see the latest Healthy Life Expectancy source publication: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Public-Health/Publications/

Note 2 - Figures are based on population estimates and death registrations (National Records of Scotland) and self-assessed health data (Scottish Health Survey, 1995 to 2008; Scottish Household Survey, 2009 onwards).

Source: Information Services Division Scotland

Criteria for recent change

This evaluation is based on: any change in combined HLE within +/- 0.5 years of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase in combined HLE of 0.5 years or more suggests that the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 0.5 years or more suggests the position is worsening.

Please note that this evaluation was previously based on change of +/- 0.8% of the previous year’s figure. These criteria are currently roughly equivalent since healthy life expectancy tends to be around 60 years and 0.8% of 60 years is equal to 0.48 years.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Statistics Topic Page

View Purporse Target Data

Downloadable document:

Title:Population
Description:Population
File:Population [XLSX, 71.5 kb: 30 Apr 2015]
Open | Open in new window
 Viewer Help