First census results reveal contrasting population figures for older people and under-15s

BETWEEN the census of 1971 and the one conducted last year, the proportion of Scotland’s population comprising people aged 65 and above has ‘swapped places’ with the proportion aged under-15.

According to the first results from last year’s census, over a million (1,091,000) of Scotland’s 5,436,000 population (the highest-ever, says the National Records of Scotland) are aged 65 and above.

Meanwhile, the number of people aged under-15 was 832,300.

Says the NRS, here: “As context, results from the 1971 census show there were twice as many people under-15 than 65-plus.”

Continues the NRS: “The population of Scotland grew by 141,200 (2.7 per cent) since the previous census in 2011. This is a slower rate of growth than between 2001 and 2011, when the population grew by 233,400 (4.6 per cent). Without migration, the population of Scotland would have decreased by around 49,800 since 2011.

“The other UK censuses showed higher rates of population growth than in Scotland. The population increased by 6.3 per cent in England and Wales, and by 5.1 per cent in Northern Ireland between 2011 and 2021.

“The number of people in older age groups (65 plus) increased by 22.5 per cent since 2011.

“On census day [last year] there were 2,509,300 households with at least one usual resident. This is up 136,500 (5.8 per cent) from the 2011 census. The increase in the number of households (5.8 per cent) is higher than the increase in the population (2.7 per cent).

“We know older people are more likely to live alone or in smaller households. There is a related trend towards smaller households and more households overall.”

Adds the NRS, here: “The population increased in 17 council areas between 2011 and 2022. The population decreased in ten council areas over the same period. There were five council areas that saw minimal change.

“The council area that saw the largest increase was Midlothian (up 16.1 per cent) while Na h-Eileanan Siar saw the biggest decrease (down 5.5 per cent).”

And goes on: “The number of households increased in 29 council areas in Scotland. There was minimal change in Dundee City, Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire. Council areas in the east and north of the country have generally seen bigger increases in household numbers compared to the west and south.”

And: “The four largest cities in Scotland were amongst the areas with the lowest proportions of people aged 65 and over. The council area with the lowest proportion of people aged 65 and over was Glasgow City (14 per cent).

“The council areas with the lowest proportion of people in the 65+ group also have higher proportions of young adults. These council areas tend to have large student populations.

“The areas with the largest proportion of people aged 65 and over tend to be in the west or south of Scotland. The council area with the largest proportion of people aged 65 and over was Argyll and Bute (27.2 per cent).”

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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