Attitudes to family formation in Scotland

This report summarises the findings of two research studies commissioned externally by the Ministerial Population Taskforce on attitudes to family formation and ideal family size in Scotland. It includes the full report of the qualitative research exploring barriers and enablers of ideal family size


1. List of Data Tables | National Records of Scotland (

2. Births in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics (

3. It should be noted that figure of actual reported children is low compared to the total fertility rate. This can be in part explained because many respondents had not completed their fertile years and may be expected to have further children in the future. It may therefore be more helpful to compare the ideal number of children to the overall total fertility rate across Scotland of 1.62 in 2005.

4. The 2005 sample (n=781) was made up of respondents of child-bearing age.

5. Although in 2021 the fertility rate in Scotland was slightly higher than the one in 2020 (1.31 compared to 1.29), this increase is unlikely to show an upward trend and births are still lowest in historical terms.

6. See Age-specific birth rates, per 1,000 female population, Scotland, 1951 to 2021, National Records of Scotland: List of Data Tables | National Records of Scotland (

7. Quantitative study data tables

8. Participants were asked to self-report their financial circumstances. They were divided in the following groups: those 'living comfortably', those 'doing alright', those 'just about getting by', and those 'finding it difficult'.

9. NRS, 2022, Projected population of Scotland (Interim) 2020-based Available at: Projected Population of Scotland (Interim) 2020-based, Report (

10. Scottish Centre for Social Research, 2006. Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2005

11. National Records of Scotland– Vital Events Reference Tables, 2021



Back to top