Demographic Change in Scotland

This research paper sets out current evidence relating to demogrpahy in Scotland, exploring the implications of demographic change and related policy issues, with reference to Scotland's Population Growth Purpose Target


The previous Scottish Demography Research Programme (cited in this paper) represents a key body of work in this area. A range of other work has also been carried out, some in Scotland and some at UK level (some of which is drawn on in this paper). In relation to new academic research, the newly established ESRC funded Centre for Population Change ( CPC) will provide one important source of evidence and expertise in this area. The CPC is a collaboration between Southampton University and a consortium of Scottish universities (Dundee, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Stirling and Strathclyde) working in partnership with ONS and GROS. The CPC aims to carry out work that will improve our understanding of the key drivers and implications of population change within the UK.

The current work programme of the Centre includes a range of projects based around 4 themes:

  • Dynamics of fertility and family formation
  • Household dynamics and living arrangements across the life course
  • Demographic and socio-economic implications of national and transnational migration
  • Modelling population growth and enhancing the evidence base for policy

In relation to understanding the drivers of population change in Scotland, fertility and migration are key themes for the CPC, and specific projects will investigate, eg, factors affecting fertility decision-making, and the experiences of migrant workers. In addition the modelling work carried out by the Centre should improve the accuracy of population projections and the possibilities for exploring policy implications of demographic change. Although the "ageing population" is not a separate theme in relation to the CPC programme, this issue will be picked up across a number of themes and individual projects; in this area, a project of particular relevance to Scotland will examine rural ageing, rural migration and provision of social care.

All the CPC projects will include Scotland, via UK datasets or primary research based in both Scotland and England.

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