National Records of Scotland

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Scotland's Population 2021 - The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends

Scotland's Population 2021 - The Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends

Last update: 31 August 2022National Statistics Icon
Next update: 2023
Frequency: Annual



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Key Points:

  • The ‘Registrar General’s Annual Review of Demographic Trends’ (RGAR) brings together a range of NRS data to provide new insights and highlight key trends. This year’s RGAR highlights the extent of the mortality deprivation gap and other types of health inequality in Scotland.
  • Mortality rates are about two times as high in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas. But for some specific causes of death, we see much larger inequalities. For example, people in the most deprived areas of Scotland are more than 15 times as likely to die from drug misuse than those in the least deprived areas.
  • COVID-19 has accounted for 8% of all deaths during the pandemic so far (March 2020 to July 2022). There have also been excess deaths from some other causes, including cancer and heart disease.
  • If past trends continue, we project that by 2045, Scotland will have a smaller and older population. For the first time in a number of years, we project Scotland's population to fall in the next decade (starting around 2029). Scotland is the only UK country with a projected fall by 2045.
  • Scotland has seen big changes in the types of unions that are legally recognised. For example, in 2021 civil partnerships became available to mixed-sex couples. More than 4 in 5 civil partnerships in 2021 were of mixed-sex couples.

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