National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Notes and Definitions

Notes and Definitions

Population covered

The estimated population of an area includes all those usually resident there whatever their nationality. Students are treated as being resident at their term-time address. Members of HM and non-UK armed forces stationed in Scotland are included; HM forces stationed outside Scotland are excluded.


Population figures relate to 30 June of the year shown and ages relate to age last birthday.

Presentation of results

Although the populations are tabulated in units, this does not imply accuracy to that level. The data are presented in units for the convenience of users wishing to compile non-standard aggregations without encountering rounding problems.

Administrative areas

The composition of the health board areas in terms of council areas is summarised in the table below. Click on the links to view maps of the council areas and health board areas.

Composition of health board areas

Health board area

Council area

Argyll & Clyde Argyll & Bute, East Renfrewshire (part), Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire (part)
Ayrshire & Arran East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire
Borders Scottish Borders
Dumfries & Galloway Dumfries & Galloway
Fife Fife
Forth Valley Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Stirling
Grampian Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray
Greater Glasgow East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire (part), Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire (part),
South Lanarkshire (part), West Dunbartonshire (part)
Highland Highland
Lanarkshire North Lanarkshire (part), South Lanarkshire (part)
Lothian East Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Midlothian, West Lothian
Orkney Orkney Islands
Shetland Shetland Islands
Tayside Angus, Dundee City, Perth & Kinross
Western Isles Eilean Siar

Land area

The land areas used to calculate the population density information presented in Table 6 were Standard Area Measurements as supplied by Ordnance Survey.

Estimates of Civilian Migration

1. Use of Community Health Index (CHI)

As in 2002, the 2003 mid-year estimates used the Community Health Index for estimating migration at council area. An overview of how the CHI is used can be found here.

2. Unattributable Population Change

In addition to the new method and data source for estimating migration, a further adjustment was made to the migration estimates. The estimated civilian migration component includes an adjustment for recurring unattributable population change. This is assumed to be unmeasured migration. The adjustment is based on the 2001 Census, which showed that previous population estimates had overestimated the population of Scotland by some 50,000. This overestimate is largely due to errors in previous migration estimates in the 1980s and 1990s. To ensure that migration estimates do not continue to be overestimated an adjustment has been included in the 2003 mid-year estimates.

This adjustment is included within the net civilian migration column in Table 1 as it is assumed to be wholly comprised of unmeasured migration. At Scotland level, this amounts to -2,600 and is the same as that used in the 2002 mid-year estimates.

Further work is being undertaken to review the quality of the method and data sources used to estimate migration.

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