First results from Scotland's Census now available.

Census 2011: Population estimates for Scotland

Scotland's population highest ever

The first results from the 2011 Census confirm that Scotland’s population is now at its highest ever level.

The statistics, published today by National Records of Scotland (NRS), provide estimates of the population broken down by age and sex, along with a total population estimate for each local authority area.

Key points

  • The population of Scotland on Census Day, 27 March 2011, was 5,295,000 – the highest ever.
  • There were 2,567,000 men and 2,728,000 women.
  • The population per square kilometre ranged from nine in Eilean Siar and Highland to 3,395 in Glasgow.

Comparisons with 10 years ago

  • Since the 2001 Census, the population has increased by 233,000 (five per cent). This represents the fastest growth rate between two Census years in the last century.
  • In 2011 there were 293,000 children aged under five, an increase of six per cent from 2001.
  • In the last 10 years, there has been a decrease of 69,000 (11 per cent) in the number of children aged five to 14.
  • The number of people aged 65 and over increased by 85,000 (11 per cent) since 2001 and now represents 17 per cent of the population
  • There were 230,000 people aged 80 and over in 2011 compared with 193,000 in 2001 (an increase of 19 per cent).
  • Compared to 2001, the population aged 15 to 64 has increased by 200,000 (six per cent). Within this total the population aged 15 to 39 decreased by 32,000 (two per cent), whilst the population amongst older working ages (40 to 64) increased by 233,000 (14 per cent).

Comparisons with 100 years ago

  • Scotland’s population in 2011 was just over half a million (11 per cent) higher than in 1911.
  • The age profile of the population has become older over the last 100 years: the proportion aged under 15 has fallen from 32 per cent to 16 per cent, while the proportion aged 65 and over has increased from 5 per cent to 17 per cent.
  • The 2011 Census was the first ever where the number of people aged 65 and over was higher than the number aged under 15.

Commenting on the results, Acting Registrar General Audrey Robertson said:

“These first results from the Census confirm the upward trend in the size of Scotland’s population in recent years. At 5,295,000, the population is now the highest ever recorded. This increase is partly because there have been more births than deaths, but mainly because more people have moved to Scotland than have left.”

The full publication and relevant data can be found in our Census results section.