National Care Service - adult social care workforce: evidence

This paper summarises the available evidence on the adult social care workforce in Scotland. It is part of a collection of contextual evidence papers, setting out key sources of information about social care and related areas in Scotland.

5. Projections of the adult social care workforce

This section examines the factors that may affect the social care workforce in the future.

5.1 Ageing population in Scotland

Overall, it is projected that the population of Scotland will age in the upcoming years. As shown in Table 6, all age groups above 65 years old are projected to rise significantly between 2020-2030. Specifically, the average increase will be 15.59% in the 65-74 age group while 75 and over age group will see a 24.25% increase. The 0-15 and 45-64 age groups will see a significant decrease in population while the 16-24 and 25-44 age groups will see a slight increase[18].

Table 5: Projection of the population of Scotland, (2020)
Age group 2020 Population 2030 Population Change since 2020
0 to 15 916,783 792,732 -13.53%
16 to 24 566,882 587,202 3.58%
25 to 44 1,431,305 1,444,244 0.90%
45 to 64 1,494,950 1,395,904 -6.63%
65 to 74 586,263 677,675 15.59%
75 and over 469,817 583,770 24.25%

Source: Population projections of Scotland - National Records of Scotland (

The ageing population could lead to increased demand for social care, however it is difficult to make an accurate projection. At the same time as the potential increase in demand for social care, there will be a decrease in the working age population which may impact on the ability to provide social care services. More information about population projections can be found in Scotland’s Health and Demographic Profile.



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