Demography of Scotland

The demography of Scotland includes all aspects of population, past and present, in the area that is now Scotland. Scotland has a population of 5,463,300, as of 2019. The population growth rate in 2011 was estimated as 0.6% per annum according to the 2011 GROS Annual Review.[3]

Map of population density in Scotland at the 2011 census
Historical population
YearPop.±%
18011,608,420    
18111,805,864+12.3%
18212,091,521+15.8%
18312,364,386+13.0%
18412,620,841+10.8%
18512,888,742+10.2%
18613,062,294+6.0%
18713,360,018+9.7%
18813,735,573+11.2%
18914,033,103+8.0%
19014,472,103+10.9%
19114,760,904+6.5%
19214,888,407+2.7%
19314,842,989−0.9%
19515,095,969+5.2%
19615,179,000+1.6%
19715,229,000+1.0%
19815,035,000−3.7%
19915,083,000+1.0%
20015,062,011−0.4%
20115,295,403+4.6%
20195,463,300+3.2%
Source: [1] [2]

Covering an area of 78,782 square kilometres (30,418 sq mi), Scotland has a population density of 67.2/km2 (174/sq mi). Around 70% of the country's population (3.5 million) live in the Central Belt —a region stretching in a northeast–southwest orientation between the major cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and including the major settlements of Paisley, Stirling, Falkirk, Perth and Dundee, in the Central Lowlands (80%). Other concentrations of population include the northeast coast of Scotland, principally the regions around the cities of Aberdeen and Inverness, and the west coast around the town of Ayr. The Scottish Highlands and the island group of Eilean Siar have the lowest population densities at 9/km2 (23/sq mi). Glasgow has the highest population density at 3,289/km2 (8,520/sq mi).[4]

Until April 2011, responsibility for estimating the population of Scotland, as well as recording births, deaths and marriages, was overseen by the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), headed by the Registrar-General for Scotland. From 1 April 2011 onwards, the GROS merged with the National Archives of Scotland to become the National Records of Scotland. The new organisation is still required under the terms of the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act 1965, to present a Registrar-General's annual report of demographic trends to Scottish Ministers. (Prior to devolution it was to the Secretary of State for Scotland). In conjunction with the rest of the United Kingdom, the National Records for Scotland is also responsible for conducting a decadal census of population. The most recent one took place in March 2011, with the next due to take place in 2022.[5]


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