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Summary: Age Demographics

EqualitySummary: Age Demographics


NRS chart of population rising and aging

Source: Scotland's Population 2015 Infographic Report


     2016 population infographic 

  • The mid-year population estimate for Scotland on 30 June 2016 was 5,404,700, with 17% of people estimated to be aged under 16, 65% aged 16-64 and 18% aged 65 and over.

Source: NRS Mid Year Population Estimates Scotland Mid-2016


  • Current projections suggest that the population of Scotland will rise to 5.7 million by 2039, and that the population will age significantly, with the number of people aged 65 and over increasing by 53% between 2014 and 2039.

Source: Projected Population of Scotland (2014-Based)


  • Scotland’s population is projected to increase. The greatest increase is projected to occur in the older age groups, and household size is projected to fall further. Consequently, the household projections (which are based on past trends) project the number of households in Scotland increasing further, to 2.76 million by 2039, an average annual increase of around 13,800 between the years 2014 and 2039. The largest increases are projected to occur in the number of households where someone lives alone, particularly amongst older people. In contrast, the number of larger households is projected to fall.


  • Between mid 2013 and mid 2014, 17,585 more people came to Scotland than left. For people moving between Scotland and the rest of the UK, the peak age for migration into Scotland was 19 and the peak ages for migrating out of Scotland were 23 and 24. For people moving between Scotland and overseas, the peak age for migration into Scotland was 23, and the peak ages for migration out of Scotland were 24 and 25.


  • The average age of mothers has increased from 27.4 in 1991 to 30.1 in 2014. Similarly the average age of fathers has increased from 30.0 in 1991 to 32.7 in 2014.


  • The average age of death rose from 71.3 in 1982 to 76.5 in 2014. Sixty three per cent of all deaths in 2014 were aged 75 or over.


  • The average age at which people marry for the first time rose from 31.6 in 2004 to 33.2 in 2014 for men and 29.6 in 2004  to 31.4 in 2014 for women.

Source: Scotland's Population 2014 (Published in The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends)


In 2014, there were an estimated 910 centenarians (People aged 100 and over) in Scotland. This is a 78% increase from 2004, when there were an estimated 510 centenarians.

Source: Centenarians in Scotland, 2004-2014


Useful Links

Age page


Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

NRS Scotland Statistics - A range of National statistics/Official publications are available on the National Records of Scotland website.

Local Area Migration 2016 (NRS, August 2017) This tool gives access to migration data from a range of sources for council and NHS Board areas. Information is also available on the strengths and weaknesses of each data source, what each data source indicates, and links are provided for further information. Covers age, gender and ethnicity

Mid-2016 Small Area Population Estimates for 2011 Data Zones (NRS, August 2017) Small area population estimates at data zone level, by age and gender

Characteristics of migrants in Scotland: Analysis of the 2011 Census (October 2016) Compares characteristics (including Age) of migrants from European Economic Area (EEA) and non-EEA countries with the Scotland-born population and migrants from the rest of the UK.

Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census - Part 2 (March 2015) Brings together relevant statistics from the census and other sources to paint a highly detailed picture of equality in Scotland. The policy areas covered are Labour Market, Education, Housing and Transport. The BSL section contains data by age.

Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census (October 2014) Analysis of Equality Results from the 2011 Census, including Ethnicity, Gypsy/Travellers, Religion, Disability and BSL and contains data by age.

Overview of Equality Results from 2011 Census Release 2 (March 2014) This paper provides further analysis of equality data originally released from the Census by the National Records of Scotland (NRS). It pulls this together into a user friendly format providing new analysis and insight, particularly around deprivation. The main equality strands included in the paper are ethnicity, religion and disability.

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Age Evidence Review (2013) A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to age equality.

2011 Census Releases (NRS) A summary of the 2011 census releases, with links to statistical bulletins. Age and gender is covered in releases 1A and 1B. Disability, ethnicity and religion is covered in releases 2A. Further detailed breakdowns are provided in release 3



More up to date information is available, as well as data tables including time series information, from the National Records of Scotland website.

Scotland's Census Data Explorer - download data, charts and tables from the 2011 census.

Future Developments

Future Developments

The first results from the 2011 Census have been published. More detailed data will become available in stages throughout 2014.

Select below for further information on:


Future publications

Beyond 2011 




National Records of Scotland Customer Services: statisticscustomerservices@nrscotland.gov.uk