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Scotland's population at its highest ever

Published: 28 Apr 2016 09:30

Scotland’s population continues to rise and reached its highest ever total in 2015.

Statistics published today by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that the estimated population of Scotland was 5,373,000 in mid-2015.

The figures show a rise of 25,400 (0.5 per cent) people since mid-2014.

The population increased because in-migration which includes people from the rest of the UK exceeded out-migration by approximately 28,000 people between mid-2014 and mid-2015. This was offset by approximately 2,000 more people dying than were born. Other changes, such as in armed forces and prisoners, resulted in a loss of approximately 500 people.

News Release Infographic 1

Between mid-2014 and mid-2015, approximately 37,800 people came to Scotland from overseas and approximately 18,200 left Scotland to go overseas giving a net migration gain of 19,600.

Between mid-2014 and mid-2015, approximately 47,200 people came to Scotland from the rest of the UK, and approximately 38,800 left Scotland to go in the opposite direction, giving a net migration gain of approximately 8,400.

In the year to 30 June 2015 there were more deaths than births for the first time since the year to mid-2006.

News Release Infographic 2

Notes to editors

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond with the sum of the separate figures.

2. The National Records of Scotland (NRS) is a non-ministerial department of the devolved Scottish Administration. It is responsible for producing statistics on Scotland’s population.

3. Today’s report gives estimated population figures for the whole of Scotland and for Council and NHS Board areas. The full publication (including Council and NHS Board area breakdowns) and previous years’ population estimates along with an infographic supplement can be downloaded from Mid Year Population Estimates section of the NRS website.

4. The estimates for NHS Board areas are based on April 2014 boundaries. Boundary changes, effective from 1 April 2014, mean that the boundaries for all 14 NHS Board areas are now aligned with Council area boundaries. More details can be found in the “Notes and definitions” section of the full publication.

5. Improvements have been made to how we calculate within UK migration. If the new method had been applied to the year to mid-2014 then it would have resulted in approximately 1,800 fewer in-migrants from the rest of the UK. It is not possible to do the calculation for Mid-2015 due to changes in data supply.

6. Population estimates for the UK as a whole will be published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in June 2016. Further details can be found on the ONS website.

7. Information on births and deaths is derived from registration data for the period from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015.

8. Information about migrants is derived from three key sources of data:

  • The National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR);
  • The Community Health Index (CHI); and
  • The International Passenger Survey (IPS).

The NHSCR provides information about moves between NHS Board areas within the UK and migration between council areas within Scotland is estimated using data from the CHI. The source of the information about overseas migration is primarily the IPS and is provided by the UK Office for National Statistics. It is based on a small sample for Scotland and hence there is a higher possibility of error than with the remainder of the population estimates.

9. Some populations are not covered by migration data sources such as the armed forces and prisoners, therefore separate adjustments are made using information collected from armed forces based in Scotland and the Scottish Government Prison Statistics team.

10. The UN definition of an international migrant is someone who changes country of residence for 12 months or more. So short-term seasonal migrants will not be counted in the migration estimates nor in the population estimates.

11. Further statistics on Scotland’s population can be accessed in the Statistics section of the NRS website.

12. Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff. General information about population statistics can be accessed in the About our Statistics section of the NRS website.

Media enquiries should be directed to: Laura Robertson 0131 244 4008

Further information about the statistics is available from:

Customer Services

National Records of Scotland

Ladywell House

Ladywell Road

Edinburgh EH12 7TF

Tel:0131 314 4299