Most areas of Scotland projected to increase in population

Scotland’s population growth over the next ten years is projected to be predominantly in the central belt and urban areas, and mostly as a result of migration patterns, according to figures published today by National Records of Scotland. 

Three quarters of local authority areas (24 councils) are expected to see growth, with the remainder projected to face depopulation over the next decade.

The Population Projections for Scottish Areas are based on the latest mid-2016 population estimates and provide an indication of the future population size and age structure of Scottish areas based on a set of assumptions about future fertility, mortality and migration.

Tim Ellis, the Registrar General for Scotland, said:

“Migration is driving projected increases in population in most areas of Scotland over the next 10 years.

“Scotland’s population is also projected to age. Between 2016 and 2026, all council areas in Scotland are projected to experience an increase in their population aged 75 and over.”                                                                                                       

The report breaks down further the National Population Projections published at Scotland and UK level on 26 October 2017, which showed that Scotland’s population is projected to increase by 3% over the next 10 years.

An infographic summarising the key points of the NRS report and an interactive data visualisation comparing population projections between Scottish council areas is available on the NRS website.


  1. The National Records of Scotland (NRS) is responsible for producing statistics on Scotland’s population.
  1. Today’s report gives projected population figures for council, NHS Board, Strategic Development Plan and National Park areas in Scotland. The full publication can be downloaded from Sub-national Population Projections section of the NRS website.
  1. An infographic supplement and interactive data visualisation have also been prepared to accompany this release. These can be accessed from the Infographics and Visualisations section of the NRS website.
  1. An overview of the results from the projections for each council area is available in NRS’ Council area profiles, along with other NRS statistics.
  1. A projection is a calculation showing what happens under certain assumptions about future fertility, mortality and migration. The assumptions are based on past trends and do not take account of any future changes that may occur as a result of policy initiatives but may reflect the past impact of policy and economic changes. These projections are not, therefore, forecasts of what the government expects to happen based on policy.
  1. As the projections are based on uncertain information about the number of births, deaths and migrants far in the future, several variant projections have also 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.
  1. Further statistics on Scotland’s population can be accessed in the Statistics section of the NRS website.
  1. 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.
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