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 population of Scotland is projected to rise, peaking at just over 5.1 million in 2019 and then slowly declining, falling below 5 million in 2036 and reaching 4.86 million by 2044;
  • the number of children aged under 16 is projected to decrease by 15 per cent from 0.94 million in 2004 to 0.79 million by 2031;
  • the number of people of working age [Footnote] is projected to fall by 7 per cent from 3.18 million in 2004 to 2.96 million in 2031;
  • the number of people of pensionable age [Footnote] is projected to rise by 35 per cent from 0.97 million in 2004 to 1.31 million in 2031;
  • the number of people aged 75 and over is projected to rise by 75 per cent from 0.37 million in 2004 to 0.65 million by 2031;
  • while Scotland’s population is projected to fall from 2019, the populations of the other three countries in the UK are projected to rise to 2031, and continue rising except for Northern Ireland where the population is projected to peak in 2033 and then slowly decline;
  • Italy, Germany and seven of the new accession states in eastern Europe are amongst the countries with a projected population decline which exceeds Scotland’s over the next 40 years.

1. Note that between 2010 and 2020 the pensionable age for women rises from 60 to 65, and the figures take account of this.

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