Concern as migration growth slows

Growth in the non-British population ends.

Scotland’s population growth has slowed and net migration decreased over the past two years, according to population estimates from the National Records of Scotland.

Statistics published today show the number of non-British nationals living in Scotland remaining stable, ending the period of growth following the EU expansion.

In 2018, there were 352,000 non-British nationals in Scotland, remaining broadly stable over the past year. Prior to 2018, the EU national population increased since the EU expansion in 2004 and also grew at a faster rate than the non-EU population.

EU nationals make up 63% of Scotland's non-British population with 221,000 EU nationals living here in 2018.

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“This slowing of migration growth in is extremely concerning. All of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years – including our working age population - is projected to come from migration, yet these latest population statistics illustrate the significant demographic challenges that we are facing.

“We want Scotland to continue to be a welcoming, internationalist, progressive, diverse country. People from all over the world who choose to settle in Scotland make valuable contributions to our economy, public services and communities. They are vital to the growth of Scotland’s working age population and in turn, our future prosperity. 

“Instead, the UK Government is pursuing policies which are projected to reduce net migration to Scotland by between 30-50% over the next two decades, completely disregarding our distinct needs.

“These statistics urgently demonstrate why the Scottish Parliament needs the powers to deliver a tailor made migration policy suited to Scotland's needs."


Population estimates by country of birth and nationality

Mid-2018 Population Estimates

Population Projections Scotland


Media enquiries

Back to top