Population and Households: 1991-2035
People and households are important consumers of energy and water, and therefore have implications for the environment. The population of Scotland declined steadily through most of the 1980s, followed by small increases in the seven years up to 1995. The population then decreased to 5.05 million in 2002, but it has since increased to 5.31 million in 2012. Population estimates are rebased with each census to ensure a consistent time series. Estimates for 1982-2000 were revised to be in line with the results of the 2001 Census. The results of the 2001 Census were then rolled forward each year to give the 2002 to 2010 series. The 2011 and 2012 estimates are based on the 2011 Census. This means there is a break in comparability in the time series between 2010 and 2011.
The latest projections indicate that the population will rise by 10% to 5.76 million in 2035. This trend is consistent with the overall UK population, which is also projected to increase but at a greater rate.1
The number of households rose by 343,000 (17%) between 1991 and 2012, reflecting the fact that household structures are changing, with fewer people per household. Projections based on 2010 figures suggest that by 2035, the number of households in Scotland will increase by 22% to 2.89 million. This will contribute significantly to the demand for housing, not all of which can be accommodated on previously developed land.
In 2007, the Scottish Government set a target in their Economic Strategy2, to match average European (EU15) population growth over the period from 2007 to 2017. The annual population growth rates for Scotland and EU15 in 2010/11 were 0.63 and 0.38 per cent respectively. So, in 2010 and 2011, the population of Scotland grew more than that of the EU15.3
Email: Callum Neil
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