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

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Notice: 1 March 2022
A processing error was identified which affects international out migration from Wales in the 2020-based national population projections.  It does not affect the amount for international migration for Scotland or the other UK constituent countries. We will therefore not be changing the projections or issuing a corrected version because of the small magnitude of this error which is within the inherent uncertainty seen around projections and underlying estimates.
More details can be found on the ONS website in the “Corrections and notices” section.

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.

Contact Us 

Please get in touch if you need any further information, or have any suggestions for improvement.

Statistics Customer Services telephone: (0131) 314 4299
E-mail: [email protected]

Lead Statistician: Esther Roughsedge

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