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Projections show impact of EU migration fall.
Growth in Scotland’s population will slow significantly if levels of EU migration are reduced, new figures from the National Records of Scotland reveal.
Scotland’s population is projected to rise from 5.40 million in 2016 to 5.58 million in 2026, and to continue to rise to 5.69 million in 2041 – an increase of 5% over the 25 year period.
All projected population increase over the next 10 years is due to net in-migration - 58% from overseas with 42% from the rest of the UK.
However in a situation where EU migration to Scotland falls to half of current levels, Scotland’s population is projected to rise by just 4% over the same period.
And in an illustrative scenario with no future EU migration, the population of Scotland is projected to rise by only 2% by 2041, peaking in 2032 and declining thereafter until 2041.
In this scenario, Scotland’s working age population is projected to decline by 3% over the next 25 years, while at the same time the pensionable age population is projected to increase by 25%, resulting in an increase in the dependency ratio.
External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:
“These figures illustrate the critical importance of maintaining inward migration to Scotland – including maintaining the existing freedom of movement with European neighbours – to help increase Scotland’s population and grow the economy.
“As our population ages, the continued availability of labour from across Europe is essential to meet our economic and social needs and to address potential skills shortages in all sectors of the labour market.
“The stark reality outlined in today’s figures is that projected growth in Scotland’s population will slow significantly if levels of EU migration are reduced. And in that scenario the population is also predicted to start declining again within the next 25 years.
“That would have a significant negative impact on Scotland’s economy and our ability to fund the public services we will need for an ageing population.”
National Population Projections for Scotland by the National Records of Scotland .