Scotland’s population continues to rise and reached its highest ever total in 2013. Statistics published today by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that the estimated population of Scotland was 5,327,700 in mid-2013, the highest ever.
The figures, based on 2011 Census data, show a rise of 14,100 people since mid-2012.
Commenting on the statistics, NRS Chief Executive Tim Ellis said:
“Scotland’s population has continued to grow, reaching its highest ever level last year.
“Scotland’s population increased by 14,100 from mid-2012 to mid-2013 primarily because of a net in-flow of approximately 10,000 more people coming to Scotland than leaving although there were also around 900 more births than deaths.
“For the tenth consecutive year more people arrived in Scotland from the rest of the UK and overseas than left to go in the opposite direction. However, for the first time in nine years net migration from the rest of the UK was larger than that from overseas.
“More people arrived in Scotland from the rest of UK and fewer people left to go in the opposite direction, compared with the previous year. In contrast, for the third consecutive year fewer people came to Scotland from overseas than in the preceding year.”
Commenting on the figures, Minister for External Affairs Humza Yousaf said:
“Healthy population growth is vital for our future economic growth and so the continuing increase in these figures is welcome news. The sustained trend over the last 10 years is positive, with more people coming to Scotland from the rest of the UK than leaving.
“We value the contribution migrants make to our economy, our culture and our society. That is why we are working hard to attract the best international talent to our universities and our workforce and why those who choose to make Scotland home will always be welcomed. The Scottish Government welcomes the contribution new Scots can make to our economy and society and these figures show that Scotland is an attractive and dynamic nation and one where people want to make a life for themselves.
“With full responsibility for immigration, an independent Scotland would be able to support the needs of Scottish businesses and help to address Scotland’s own demographic challenges. It would give Scotland the ability to tailor a robust new approach to migration to address our own specific social, economic, educational and demographic needs.
“The UK Government’s focus on arbitrarily reducing net migration irrespective of what value migrants might bring, what skills shortages they could address, or what contribution they could make to our economy and society, is wrong for Scotland and is harming our economic prospects. This approach has dramatically reduced the number of international students coming to Scotland from countries that have traditionally sent high numbers and undermines the Scottish Government’s efforts to attract the best international talent to our universities and our workforce.
“With independence, Scotland could bring back the post-study work visa route, which would attract more foreign students and help us to retain a much higher proportion of the international talent cultivated by our award-winning universities.
"An independent Scotland would have powers to address repeated calls from Scottish industry and academia for a more tailored approach to migration. It would give Scotland the tools it needs to attract talented workers, international students and graduates from other parts of the world to address our known skills shortages and help us cope with the long-term challenges that we know our ageing population will bring.”
The main findings included:
• The estimated population of Scotland on 30 June 2013 was 5,327,700, the highest ever and an increase of 14,100 from the previous year.
• The population increased because approximately 910 more people were born than died, and because in-migration exceeded out-migration by approximately 9,960 between mid-2012 and mid-2013. Other changes, such as in armed forces and prisoners, resulted in a gain of approximately 3,230 people.
• Between mid-2012 and mid-2013, approximately 47,700 people came to Scotland from England, Wales and Northern Ireland and approximately 39,800 left Scotland to go in the opposite direction giving a net migration gain of 7,900.
• Compared with the previous year, net migration to Scotland from England, Wales and Northern Ireland has increased by 4,800, as illustrated by the infographic below. This is because of an increase of 2,600 in the number of people coming to Scotland from England, Wales and Northern Ireland and a decrease of 2,300 in the number of people moving in the opposite direction.
• Between mid-2012 and mid-2013, 28,200 people came to Scotland from overseas and 26,100 left Scotland to go overseas giving a net migration gain of 2,100. This represents about 1 in 2,500 (0.04 per cent) of the total population.
• In comparison with the previous year (i.e. mid-2011 to mid-2012) net migration to Scotland from overseas fell by 7,600, as illustrated by the infographic above. This is primarily because of a drop of 7,700 in the number of people coming to Scotland from overseas.