The population of Scotland is projected to rise, but not at an even rate across the country, according to the Population Projections for Scottish Areas report issued by National Records of Scotland today.
Commenting on the report, the Registrar General George MacKenzie said:
“By 2035 we expect the population of Scotland to increase by about 10 per cent. But in East Lothian and Perth and Kinross, we think it will grow by around a third. At the same time, we project the number of people in Inverclyde will fall by about 17 per cent and in Eilean Siar, the Western Isles, by about 11 per cent.”
The report concentrates on the period between 2010 and 2035, and for the first time publishes seven variant projections in addition to the principal projection for Scottish areas. The projections show what happens under certain assumptions about future fertility, mortality and migration. The assumptions are based largely on past trends, they are not forecasts and do not take account of any future changes that may occur as a result of policy initiatives.
The main points are:
- the population of 22 of Scotland’s 32 Council areas are projected to increase, while the population in the other 10 are projected to decrease. The Council areas with the greatest projected increase in population are East Lothian (+33 per cent) and Perth & Kinross (+32 per cent). Inverclyde (-17 per cent) and Eilean Siar (-11 per cent) have the largest projected decreases
- every Council area is projected to have more elderly people than today, though the scale of the increase will vary
- the number of children aged 0-15 is projected to increase in half of the 32 Council areas, with the largest percentage increases in East Lothian (+41 per cent) and Perth & Kinross (+32 per cent). The largest decreases are projected in Eilean Siar (-34 per cent) and Inverclyde (-27 per cent)
- the population of working age is projected to increase in 17 Council areas and decrease in 15 – increasing the most in Perth & Kinross (+33 per cent) and decreasing the most in Inverclyde (-24 per cent)
- the population of pensionable age is projected to increase in all Council areas, the largest increases projected in West Lothian (+52 per cent) and Aberdeenshire (+50 per cent), with the smallest increase in Dundee City (+4 per cent)
- it is hard to estimate how many people might migrate to Scotland in the future. The high migration projection shows what would happen if Scotland were to gain larger numbers than expected through migration. The populations in 26 Council areas would rise under this variant. The greatest increases are projected in Perth & Kinross (+37 per cent), and East Lothian and City of Edinburgh (both +36 per cent), and the largest decrease again projected in Inverclyde (-15 per cent), followed by East Dunbartonshire (-8 per cent)
- the low migration variant projection shows the population if Scotland were to gain smaller numbers through migration than expected. The populations in 18 Councils are still expected to rise under this variant. The greatest increases are again projected in East Lothian (+30 per cent) and Perth & Kinross (+26 per cent), and the largest decreases in Inverclyde (-19 per cent) and Eilean Siar (-17 per cent)
- the zero migration variant projects the population as if migration was not to have any effect at all. Under this variant the population of 12 Council areas are expected to rise, with the largest increase projected for West Lothian (+8 per cent). The largest decreases are projected for Eilean Siar (-8 per cent) and Argyll & Bute (-7 per cent)
- fertility variants use higher or lower fertility rates than what is assumed for Scotland. The population of 24 Councils are projected to increase under the high variant, with the largest increases and decreases projected for East Lothian (+37 per cent) and Inverclyde (-14 per cent). Under the low fertility variant, the population of 19 Councils are projected to increase. East Lothian and Perth & Kinross are projected to have the largest increases (both +29 per cent), and Inverclyde is projected to have the biggest decrease (-19 per cent)
- life expectancy variants suggest what might happen to the population if mortality rates improved more or less than assumed. Under the high life expectancy variant, the population of 24 Councils are projected to increase, with the largest increases and decreases projected for East Lothian (+34 per cent) and Inverclyde (-15 per cent) respectively. The low life expectancy variant projects the population of 20 Councils to increase, and the same areas are projected to have the largest changes: East Lothian (+32 per cent) and Inverclyde (-18 per cent)
This is a National Statistics publication. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference. Population projections were assessed by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) in May 2011, along with other population and demographic statistics for Scotland. These statistics can now be confirmed as designated National Statistics, subject to meeting the requirements set out in the assessment report.
Because the projections are based on uncertain information about the number of births, deaths and migrants far in the future, many variants are produced at national level and seven variants have been published at sub-national level. These variant projections are based on alternative assumptions of future fertility, mortality and migration, and give users an indication of the inherent uncertainty of demographic behaviour, especially for the long-term projections.
For these population projections working age is taken to be 16-59 for women and 16-64 for men until 2010; between 2010 and 2020 working age becomes 16-64 for women. Between 2024 and 2026 working age for both men and women becomes 16-65 and changes again to 16-67 by 2046. Pensionable age is taken to be 65 for men, 60 for women until 2010; between 2010 and 2020 pensionable age for women increases to 65. Between 2024 and 2026 the pensionable age for both men and women increases to 66 and changes again to 68 by 2046. The UK Government has subsequently proposed alternative timings to the changes in state pension age. These are not yet law and will require parliamentary approval.
National population projections are prepared by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on behalf of the Registrars General for England & Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The assumptions are agreed in liaison with the devolved administrations, following consultation with key users of projections in each country and advice from an expert advisory panel. The 2010-based national population projections were announced in a news release issued on 26 October 2011 and the results can be found on the National Records for Scotland website. Projected populations for administrative areas of Scotland, consistent with the national projections, have been prepared by the Registrar General for Scotland and are the subject of this news release.
The latest projection is based on the Registrar General’s mid-year population estimates for 2010 and replaces the previous 2008-based sub-national population projections. The projections are the result of assumptions made about future fertility, mortality and migration patterns based on past trends. Therefore the projections are not a prediction of what will happen, but simply a projection of what would be the outcome on the basis of particular assumptions.
Projections are usually produced every two years but with the 2011 Census the pattern may change slightly in coming years.
The projections for the administrative areas of Scotland summarised in this news release are also available by single year of age and sex for each year of the projection period, 2010 to 2035, from the detailed tables section on the National Records of Scotland website.