Current Status

The population of Scotland has increased each year since 2001 and is now at its highest ever. For the latest year population growth for Scotland has been lower than that of the EU15 countries. In 2012 the average annual population growth rates since 2007 for Scotland and the EU15 were 0.30 and 0.47 respectively.

Levels of healthy life expectancy for women and men have been gradually increasing since 1980. There was an average increase of 3.1% from 58.9 years to 60.7 years between the baseline year of 2003 and 2012.

Population

   To match average European (EU15) population growth over the period from 2007 to 2017

   Supported by increased healthy life expectancy in Scotland over the period from 2007 to 2017

Population

Why is this Purpose target important?

The rate of sustainable economic growth is dependent on three key drivers: Productivity; Participation in the labour market; and Population Growth. Population growth is a key contributor to, and a consequence of, a more vibrant society and a more dynamic economy. It is also particularly vital to maintaining the sustainability of many of our rural and coastal communities.

Scotland , like many countries, is projected to experience a significant demographic shift over the next few decades. This is projected to lead to an increase in the average age of the Scottish population - caused by considerable increases in the number of people of pensionable age, and muted growth in the working age population - between now and 2035. Therefore, in order to prevent adverse impacts on Scotland's economic growth performance it is important that we continue to attract more people of working age to Scotland and make the best use of our potential labour supply through increasing employment. Increasing healthy life expectancy will mean that people live longer in good health, increasing their capacity for productive activity and reducing the burden of ill health and long term conditions on public services and the economy generally.

What will influence this Purpose target?

Population change in Scotland is determined by three key elements:

  • Birth rates
  • Life expectancy
  • Net migration

These are, in turn, influenced by a combination of factors, including the relative levels of economic prosperity and opportunity, quality of life and the provision of key public services.

However, a key lever to help deliver our ambitions around population growth - immigration policy - is currently reserved to the UK Government. With full control over immigration policy the Scottish Government would be able to set a controlled immigration policy framework that supports the needs of Scottish businesses, universities and ensure long-term economic success and prosperity for Scotland. It would also help tackle Scotland's demographic challenge by not only contributing to redressing the dependency ratio but by enabling resources to be made available to support public services.

What is the Government's role?

The Government Economic Strategy sets out a number of actions to support Population growth in Scotland. These include:

  • Creating the conditions for talented people to live, work and remain in Scotland
  • Ensure that population growth supports the sustainability of many of our rural and coastal communities
  • Creating the conditions for a supportive business environment, and attracts international investment to Scotland
  • Improving health and well-being
  • Engagement with other countries and international institutions
  • Effective provision of education and other key public services
  • Developing a fairer and more equal society

How is Scotland performing?

For Population Growth Target:

In 2010-11, the annual population growth rates for the EU15 and Scotland were 0.39 per cent and 0.72 per cent respectively resulting in a difference of 0.33 percentage points in favour of Scotland. In 2011-12, the difference in annual growth rate between the EU15 and Scotland was 0.12 percentage point in favour of the EU15 where it grew by 0.38 per cent compared to Scotland’s growth of 0.26 per cent. So between 2010-11 and 2011-12, the population of the EU15 grew more than that of Scotland. Therefore over the latest period, the gap between annual population growth rates in Scotland and the EU15 has worsened by 0.45 percentage points (based on the rounded figures).

Population Growth - Scotland vs EU15 - upto 2011 to 2012

Population Growth - difference between Scotland and EU15 - upto 2011 to 2012

The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page

Source: Eurostat and National Records of Scotland

Criteria for recent change

This evaluation is based on: any difference in the gap within +/- 0.1 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A movement of 0.1 percentage points or more in Scotland's favour suggests that the position is improving, whereas a movement of 0.1 percentage point or more to Scotland's detriment suggests that the position is worsening.

For Healthy Life Expectancy Target:

Levels of healthy life expectancy for women and men have been gradually increasing since 1980. A new methodology was introduced in 2009. A partial back series calculated using the new methodology shows that levels of HLE based on the new methodology have been increasing at a similar rate to those based on the old methodology.  In 2012, healthy life expectancy for women was 62.0 years, whilst levels for men were 59.4 years. Driven by trends in self-assessed general health, the average level of healthy life expectancy decreased by 1.3% from 61.5 years to 60.7 years between 2011 and 2012.

Population - Healthy Life Expectancy - Combined - Scotland - upto 2012

The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page

Note 1 - For more information on the change in the methodology please see the latest Healthy Life Expectancy source publication: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Public-Health/Publications/

Note 2 - Figures are based on population estimates and death registrations (National Records Scotland) and self-assessed health data (Scottish Health Survey, 1995 to 2008; Scottish Household Survey, 2009 onwards).

Source: Information Services Division Scotland

Criteria for recent change

This evaluation is based on: any change in combined HLE within +/- 0.8% of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase in combined HLE of 0.8% or more suggests that the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 0.8% or more suggests the position is worsening.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Statistics Topic Page

View Purporse Target Data

Downloadable document:

Title:Population
Description:Population
File:Population Growth and Healthy Life Expectancy [XLS, 150.0 kb: 13 Dec 2013]
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