National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Scotland's Population is Increasing

Scotland's Population is Increasing

Thursday, 27 Apr 2017
News release image

Scotland’s population continued to increase between 2015 and 2016.

Statistics published today by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that the estimated population of Scotland was 5,404,700 at 30 June 2016, which is the highest level recorded.

The figures show a rise of 31,700 (0.6%) people over the year since 30 June 2015.

Why has Scotland’s population increased?

The increase in Scotland’s population over the last year has been driven by migration. Migration to Scotland exceeded migration from Scotland by 31,700 people. This included a net increase of 22,900 people from overseas and 8,800 from the rest of the UK.

The number of deaths exceeded the number of births by 800, while other changes (such as in the prison population, and changes in the number of armed forces stationed in Scotland) resulted in an increase of 800 people.

Image showing why Scotland's population has increased

How do the figures compare with the previous year?

The most recent increase in Scotland’s population of 31,700 (0.6%) compares with an increase of 25,400 (0.5%) in the previous year to 30 June 2015.

The main reason for the higher population increase is that net migration to Scotland increased from 28,000 in 2014-15 to 31,700 in 2015-16.

Natural change (births minus deaths) resulted in a loss of 800 people in the year to 30 June 2016, compared with a loss of 2,000 in the previous year. The year-on-year change was driven by 1,800 fewer deaths, partially offset by 600 fewer births.

The full publication Mid-2016 population estimates Scotland is available on this website.

An infographic and data visualisation are available for this publication on this website.

Today NRS have also published Demographic and Census profiles of European Economic Area (EEA) born residents in Scotland. These provide information and  key statistics on EEA born residents across Scotland’s council areas.