National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Main Points

Main Points

The key points in this report are:-

  • The estimated population of Scotland on 30 June 2005 was 5,094,800, a rise of 16,400 on the previous year and an increase of 30,600 since mid-2001;

  • Compared with the previous year there were more births (+1.3 per cent) and fewer deaths (-1.8 per cent). Despite this, deaths exceeded the number of births by about 2,300;

  • Over the year there was a net gain from migration of around 19,000, including a net gain of 12,500 people from the rest of the UK and a net gain of 7,300 people from overseas (including asylum seekers);

  • Around 57,300 people came to Scotland from England, Wales and Northern Ireland and around 44,800 left Scotland to go in the opposite direction. The net inflow of around 12,500 is lower than the previous year’s 15,500 net inflow reflecting less people coming to Scotland and more people leaving than the previous year;

  • The lower overseas net gain of 7,300 comes from an inflow of around 35,400 (including asylum seekers) and an outflow of 28,100. Note that short-term migrants are not included in the estimate as an international migrant is defined as someone who changes their country of residence for 12 months or more;

  • Since mid-2001 and the 2001 Census, Scotland’s population has increased by 0.6 per cent (+30,600) from 5.06 million to 5.09 million. However, over the last ten years, Scotland’s population has decreased by 8,890 (-0.2 per cent): 5.10 million to 5.09 million, due to an excess of deaths over births because net migration fluctuated around zero for most of the period;

  • Amongst the Council areas, Highland and Falkirk had the largest percentage increases over the year at 1.1 per cent, closely followed by Edinburgh City at 0.9 per cent. East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire experienced the largest percentage decreases at 0.6 per cent, followed by Midlothian with a percentage decrease of 0.5 per cent;

  • Of Council areas which had been decreasing: Dundee City’s population increased for the first time since mid-1995, and both Eilean Siar and Glasgow City increased for two years in a row;

  • Of the NHS Board areas, Highland (+1.1 per cent), Forth Valley (+0.9 per cent), Lothian (+0.6 per cent) and Fife (+0.6 per cent) had the largest percentage increases. The only two NHS Board areas with percentage decreases were Argyll & Clyde (-0.4 per cent) and Ayrshire and Arran (-0.2 per cent);

  • Population density is 65 persons per square kilometre and ranges from 8 persons per square kilometre in Highland Council area to 3,298 persons per square kilometre in Glasgow City Council area.