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


1. The longer-term impact on the public finances is not clear, particularly if population growth is predominately driven by net migration, as migrants, if they choose to settle, will also age and place demands on public services in the future.

2. The Scottish Council of Economic Advisers ( CEA) was established in 2007. It brings together experts from business and economics to advise the Scottish Government on how to achieve sustainable economic growth. The CEA Annual Reports can be found at:

3. The full text of the CEA recommendations is as follows:

Recommendation 1: [the Scottish Government] revisits its short-term population growth target in the light of circumstances that are hugely changed since the target was set. In this context, the Government may wish to clarify further the focus of its immigration strategy, specifically: whether it is to widen the specific skills base; to increase human capital more generally; to improve population balance by having more people of working age; or, more generally, to increase Scotland's population;

Recommendation 2: [the Scottish Government] commissions research to explore the factors affecting the decisions of both immigrants and emigrants, so that policy design is properly grounded in good evidence.

The Scottish Government rejected the first recommendation, believing it right to retain the albeit ambitious target in order to support the overall Government Economic Strategy, and accepted the second recommendation, noting work already under way to map existing evidence.

4. See ESRC/Scottish Executive (2005) Demographic Trends in Scotland: A Shrinking and Ageing Population for further details of the seminar and summaries of the papers commissioned.

5. Using the Randall classification system, based on population density (with less than one person per hectare considered "rural").

6. The EU15 countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

7. The 2004 EUA8 accession countries are: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia.

8. Current work by Findlay and McCollum (University of Dundee) carried out as part of the Centre for Population Change research programme aims to add to understanding in this area. Their work explores the impact of the economic downturn on A8 migration to Scotland, highlighting interesting geographical and sectoral differences (Findlay, A and McCollum, D in Scottish Geographical Journal (forthcoming) "International Migration and Recession").

9. Eurostat population projections ( EUROPOP2008), convergence scenario,

10. For Scotland, this reflects the higher levels of net migration experienced in 2008-09 than were previously forecast. Net migration flows are the most difficult element of the population projections to forecast and are subject to a significant degree of uncertainty.

11. Healthy Life Expectancy is the number of years that people can expect to be in good health. This is based on a combination of life expectancy and survey data on self-assessed health.

12. These figures are taken from Health of Scotland's Population - Life Expectancy ( SG website, 2010) and are used in demonstrating progress towards the HLE element of the population target. ONS figures for 2010 give slightly lower HLE figures for Scotland at 67.3 for men and 69.9 for women.

13. GROS projections take account of the planned changes in retirement age: the raising of the retirement age for women to 65, and the subsequent raising to 68 for both sexes.

14. In addition it should be noted that the pattern of change in the dependency ratio is projected to be quite volatile in future years as the currently proposed changes to the state pension age are introduced (which will alter the size of the working age population).

15. The Scottish Government Growing Up in Scotland Survey is a longitudinal study following a sample of children from infancy to their teens (see:

16. Research in Germany (Kreyenfeld and Hank (2002)) found a link between a woman's family living locally and the likelihood of starting a family. In addition, Graham et al refer to the proximity of other family as a possible factor in fertility decision making ( GROS, 2008)

17. Bell, D, Agreeing Priorities and Delivering Outcomes, presentation, January 2010

18. Bell, D, The Ageing Population: Global and Local Issues, presentation to Scottish Enterprise, April 2010

19. It should be noted that this analysis was published alongside Budget 2008 and precedes the impact of the downturn on the UK public finances, and the outcome of the UK Spending Review (October 2010) which will impact on some of the results of this previous analysis.

20. Long-term Public Finance Report: An Analysis of Fiscal Sustainability ( HM Treasury, March 2008).

21. Many home care clients would have received personal care services free of charge prior to the introduction of the universal policy as a result of means testing, so not all expenditure recorded under the FPC for home care clients heading is "new" expenditure.

22. A measure which compares local death rates with national death rates, taking account of the population structure in the area.

23. Latest ONS figures for HLE in Scotland stand at 67.3 and 69.9 years respectively for men and women ( ONS, 2010).

24. Using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (see: Glasgow City is the local authority with the highest proportion of data zones (43%) which fall within the category: "15 per cent most deprived in Scotland".

25. Gray, A, Population Ageing and Health Care Expenditure, in Ageing Horizons, Oxford, 2005, issue no 2

26. David Bell, Rural Ageing and Social Care, presentation to GROS Healthy Ageing Conference, Nov 2009.



29. Analysis by Leeds University for Carers UK estimates the replacement cost of care currently provided by carers in Scotland to be £7.68 billion (Carers UK, 2007)

30. Carers UK estimate that, at a UK level, the numbers of carer will increase from 5.7million to 9.1 million by 2037

31. Research by Carers UK found evidence of people leaving the workforce in order to care for relatives.

32. Scottish Government statistics releases on Care Homes, Home Care, Free Personal Care, Self-directed Support, Respite Care -

33. Scottish Health Survey analysis looking at older people's health will be published in 2011.

34. The Scottish Longitudinal Study brings together census data and vital events information for a 5% sample of the Scottish population, drawn from the 1991 census, with the option to link to ISD health data. More information is available at:

35. Anderson et al, A Scottish Longitudinal Study of Ageing: Scoping Study , Scottish Government 2008

36. The Total Fertility Rate is a summary measure of fertility, representing the number of children that a group of women would have if they experienced the observed ASFR (Age Specific Fertility Rate) in each of their child bearing years.

37. Sleebos (2003) Low Fertility Rates in OECD Countries: Facts and Policy Responses, in OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers

38. The research was based on analysis of British Household Panel data for women born on or after 1955.

39. The research was based on a specially commissioned module of questions in the 2005 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey.

40. CEA (2009) Second Annual Report

41. Several UK-wide projects within the Fertility Theme of the Centre for Population Change work programme aim to add to knowledge and understanding in this area.

42. This may reflect a greater likelihood of women to register with a GP, as the figures are calculated using NHS records.

43. LTIM estimates of long term migration (ie, more than 12 months) are derived from International Passenger Survey data adjusted to take account of asylum seekers and people who change their original intentions.

44. LFS data does not cover people in communal living arrangements so may underestimate those working in the agricultural sector where this is a more common feature. In addition, it should be noted that the sample weighting may lead to some under-representation of short term workers in the survey results.

45. The majority of those recorded in the "administration, business and management" category are employed by recruitment agencies and could be working in a range of sectors.

46. Carr and Cavanagh (2008); much of the analysis in this research draws on work carried out by the New Zealand Government Treasury in 2004.

47. This UK level work is being led by ONS via the Improvements in Migration and Population Statistics cross-government programme.

48. A feasibility study for a survey of UK migrants has been carried out for the Home Office/ UKBA. Such a survey would provide a possible source of information on the views and experiences of migrants . This work was commissioned under the previous administration and there is currently no plan to proceed with a full survey.

49. The most recent GROS figures commented on in GROS (2010) Scotland's Population 2009 show only limited impact on migration or births.

50. See, for example, research by Devoretz and Pivnenko (2004) looking at applications for Canadian citizenship.

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