Scottish electorate numbers are rising

Number of people registered to vote in elections in Scotland has increased in 2016, according to the latest National Statistics published by National Records of Scotland.

The number of people registered to vote in elections in Scotland has increased in 2016, according to the latest National Statistics published today by National Records of Scotland. This increase follows the drop in numbers seen in 2015 due to the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration (IER).

The increase is seen across the electorates for Local Government and Scottish Parliament, the UK Parliament as well as the European Parliament.

As at 1 December 2016:

  • The number of UK Parliamentary electors in Scotland rose by 33,100 (0.8 per cent) to 3.9 million, compared to December 2015
  • The number of registered Local Government and Scottish Parliament electors in Scotland rose by 59,500 (1.5 per cent) to 4.1 million
  • There has been an increase in the number of overseas electors which doubled to 15,200 (up 97 per cent). This increase could be attributed to an increased number of people registering to vote in the EU Referendum in June 2016
  • The number of 16 and 17 year old electors has also increased by 62.6 per cent to 79,600 since last year. Due to the timing of the legislation change and the timing of the canvass, lowering of the voting age change had limited effect on electorate numbers in 2015. However, as expected, an increase in electorate numbers is more evident in 2016.

The next Local Government election in Scotland will take place on 4 May 2017. The deadline for registration to vote in the Local Government election is Monday 17 April 2017.

The full publication Electoral Statistics for Scotland, as at 1 December 2016 is available on the National Records of Scotland website.


1. The statistical information is available online at: or directly from: 

2. Equivalent statistics for the whole of the UK were also published today by the Office for National Statistics.

3. The electoral register is a list of all people who are registered to vote in elections and referendums. The creation and maintenance of the electoral register is the responsibility of local electoral registration offices. There are 15 such offices in Scotland and each maintains the electoral register for its own area. This is generally done by means of an annual canvass and a process of rolling registration. These statistics are derived using the data supplied by the 15 Electoral Registration Officers using the full register published on 1 December 2016.

4. These statistics are also used by government to inform electoral policy, in the work of the Boundary Commission for Scotland for constituency design, and by political parties and members of the UK and the Scottish Parliament, local government, academics and members of the public with an interest in the political process.


Media enquiries


Back to top