SCOTLAND’S population is expected to rise by 9 per cent to 5.78 million by 2037 – with more than four-fifths of the increase coming from migration, it was predicted on Wednesday.
The population will see a projected influx of 380,000 new migrants in the next 25 years, according to figures from the National Records of Scotland (NRS).
And over the next decade Scotland’s population will rise from 5.31m to 5.52m by 2022, and continue to increase to 5.78m by 2037, according to the NRS figures based on 2011 census data released last year.
Over the next decade, 28 per cent of the projected increase in Scotland’s population can be attributed to births exceeding deaths, defined as natural change, while 72 per cent of the increase will be due to inward net migration.
The forecasts saw predictions of future Scottish population revised upwards in light of information from the census.
The predictions of an influx of new people to Scotland was welcomed by the Scottish Government’s culture minister Fiona Hyslop.
“Scotland is more multi-cultural than ever before, with an increase of three percentage points in the number of people living in Scotland who were born outside the UK.
“The first census release in December 2012 revealed Scotland’s population is now the highest in history, and between 2001 and 2011 there was a 6 per cent increase in the number of people of working age - 16-64 years.
“This publication shows Scotland’s population is projected to increase by 470,000 people over the next 25 years. I am pleased to see most of this increase is attributed to continuing inward net migration. The Scottish Government welcomes the contribution that new Scots will make to our economy and society.”
Between 2012 and 2022, the number of children aged under 16 is projected to increase by 4 per cent from 0.91 to 0.95m. It is then set to increase to 0.96m by 2037. That represented a 5 per cent increase compared with the 2012 estimate.
The challenges presented by caring for an ageing society were illustrated by projections suggesting that the number of people aged 75 and over will increase by around 28 per cent in the next decade – from 0.42m in 2012 to 0.53m in 2022.
It is then projected to continue rising, reaching 0.78m in 2037 – an increase of 86 per cent over the 25-year period.
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “The projected increase in elderly people represents a huge challenge.
“While it’s welcome that so many people will live longer, healthier lives, we have to be ready to meet the consequential resource demand on public services and our health service in particular. Our NHS and councils are already at full stretch coping with Scotland’s ageing population, so the Scottish Government needs to urgently articulate in detail how we will all need to adapt as the issue becomes ever more acute.”
NRS predicted that the number of people of working age will increase from 3.35m in 2012 to 3.51m in 2022, up 5 per cent. It then decreases to 3.48m by 2037, an overall increase of 4 per cent from the 2012 estimate.
The number of people of pensionable age is projected to decrease from 1.05m in 2012 to 1.02m in 2020, down 3 per cent.
It is then projected to rise, reaching 1.34m in 2034, then remains relatively constant and is projected to be 1.33m by 2037, an increase of 27 per cent on the 2012 estimate.