National Records of Scotland

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Projected Population of Scotland (2020-based)

Projected Population of Scotland (2020-based)

Last update: 12 January 2022National Statistics Icon
Next update: TBC

Key Findings:

  • The population of Scotland is projected to continue increasing until around mid-2028, peaking at 5.48 million. It is then projected to fall by 1.8% to 5.39 million by 2045.
  • These projections are lower than the previous (2018-based) projections. The difference is mainly due to lower fertility rates. These are the first projections for a number of years to show Scotland’s population falling in the next decade. The previous projections suggested that the population could stall and then begin to fall after around 25 years.
  • The population of the UK as a whole is projected to grow by 5.8% to mid-2045. These latest projections for Scotland and the UK are both lower than previous projections.  Scotland is the only UK country where the population is projected to fall during the next 25 years. If these projections were realised, Scotland’s share of the UK population would fall from 8.1% in mid-2020 to 7.6% by mid-2045.
  • Scotland’s population is projected to age. The number of people aged 65 and over is projected to grow by nearly a third by mid-2045. The number of children is projected to fall by over a fifth. The working age population is projected to remain fairly stable.
  • As now, more people are projected to move to Scotland than leave each year. There are more deaths than births each year, and the gap between births and deaths is projected to widen. Over time, this will outweigh the growth from migration.

Uses and Limitations of Population Projections

ONS Comparable Datasets

Statistical bulletin for the UK population projections, as well as datasets.

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