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Statistics in more details

People & Society montageSummary: Gender Demographics

Population Estimates
  • On 30 June 2017, the population of Scotland was 5,424,800, the largest population ever in Scotland for the eighth year running.

Scotland's population structure, Mid-2017

  • Scotland had a relatively even split between sexes in 2017, with 51% females and 49% males, although this varied amongst age groups. The youngest age groups had a higher male to female ratio as more male babies are born than female, whilst the oldest age groups had a lower male to female ratio as females have longer life expectancy in Scotland.

Source: Mid-2017 Population Estimates Scotland (Last updated: April 2018, NRS)

  • The average age of all females giving birth was 30.3 in 2016, compared to 27.4 in 1991, 26.1 in 1977 and 27.4 in 1964.
  • Similarly, the average age of fathers (excluding births registered in the mother’s name only, where the father’s details were not provided) was 32.9 in 2016 compared to 30.0 in 1991 and 28.6 in 1977.

Source: Scotland's Population 2016 - The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends (Last updated: August 2017, NRS)

  • In 2016, deaths from people aged 45 and over accounted for 96% of all deaths.
  • Comparing with 1981, the death rates for males and females dropped by 53% and 48% respectively, in the 45 to 64 age group. In the 65 to 74 age group, male rates decreased by 56% compared to 48% for females. The greatest differential is in the 75 plus age group, where male mortality has fallen by 35% compared to only 17% for females. These changes have narrowed the difference between female and (traditionally higher) male mortality.  

Source: Scotland's Population 2016 - The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends (Last updated: August 2017, NRS)

Life Expectancy
  • Life expectancy has increased from 69.1 years for males and 75.3 years for females born around 1981 to 77.1 years for males and 81.1 years for females born around 2014.

  • The gap in life expectancy between males and females has decreased from 6.2 years for those born around 1981 to 4.1 years for those born around 2014.

  • For those born around 2014, the gap between male and female life expectancy was larger in the most deprived areas (6.3 years) than in the least deprived areas (2.7 years).

Source: Scotland's Population 2016 - The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends (Last updated: August 2017, NRS)

Marriages and civil parterships
  • There were 29,229 marriages registered in Scotland in 2016. Of these, 28,231 were opposite-sex marriages and 998 were same-sex marriages (involving 391 male couples and 607 female couples).

The average age at first marriage in Scotland increased in 2016 for both males and females

  • For first marriages, the average age of males rose from 24.3 in 1975 to 33.9 in 2016; the comparable figures for females are 22.4 in 1975 and 32.2 in 2016.

Source: Scotland's Population 2016 - The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends (Last updated: August 2017, NRS)

  • In 2016, the majority of centenarians were women. In 2016, women accounted for 790 of Scotland’s centenarians (87%) while around 120 men had reached this milestone.

Source: Centenarians in Scotland 2006 to 2016


Useful Links

Gender Page

Demographics Page

Publications and Outputs

Publications and Outputs

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

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

Scotland's Population 2016: Infographic Report (NRS, August 2017) Scotland's Population 2016 - The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends 162nd Edition

Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Gender Evidence Review (2013) A comprehensive review of available evidence in relation to gender

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: Part 1 (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.

Mid-2017 Population Estimates Scotland (NRS, April 2018) Population estimates by administrative area, Scotland, mid-2017

Mid-2016 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland (NRS, March 2018) Small area population estimates for settlements and localities in Scotland, by age and gender. Further population estimates are available in the annual mid-year small area population estimates for each data zone in Scotland

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

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

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.



Scotland's Census

National Records of Scotland - 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, 2001 and 1991 Censuses.

Scotland's Census Results 2011 - Download data tables from the most recent census releases.

Official Statistics

statistics.gov.scot - Explore, visualise and download over 200 datasets from a range of producers. Start browsing by theme, organisation, or geography. Or access programmatically using our APIs. A range of datasets are available that can be broken down by gender


Future Developments

Future Developments

The main set of statistical outputs from Scotland’s Census 2011 have now been published and we are working through the requests received for commissioned outputs. For further information on submitting a request, visit the Commissioned Outputs page.

Planning has begun for Scotland’s Census 2021 and will build on the success of the census in 2011.

Select below for further information on:


Future publications




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