Population boom means East beats West in 12 years' time
THE population of Edinburgh and the Lothians is set to rocket over the next two decades as it overtakes Glasgow and its surrounding area as the most populated in Scotland.
At least 40,000 more people are expected to flood into Edinburgh over the next 20 years - a population explosion which bucks the national trend and will see the Capital near 500,000 by 2024.
And the Lothians as a whole will see its population rise to almost 850,000 in the next 12 years, outstripping Glasgow and its neighbouring local authorities by more than 5000 people.
City leader Donald Anderson said the anticipated population boom, which includes many workers from overseas, proves Edinburgh's position as one of the UK's top cities.
According to the latest population projections from the Scottish Executive, Edinburgh is closing in on Glasgow and its title of being the Scotland's biggest city.
Population experts today said one of the reasons for the growth was that Lothian was benefiting from lower levels of poverty and more economic opportunities than elsewhere in Scotland.
A recent report by transport consultants Steer Davies Gleave predicted almost 70,000 jobs will be created in the Capital over the next two decades, with much of the economic activity centred on areas near the Waterfront developments of Leith and Granton.
Professor Michael Anderson, an expert in demographic changes at Edinburgh University, said: "Glasgow has a bigger problem with poverty and this is a big factor in population decline.
"If you look at where migrants go, they simply follow the opportunities and more are being created on the east coast then on the west coast at present.
"These figures are not a surprise because it is part of a long-running trend where the population of Glasgow has been in decline."
The figures compare the area covered by NHS Lothian and the Greater Glasgow health board, which is expected to witness a fall in population over the next two decades.
The Greater Glasgow health board includes North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire and the City of Glasgow.
The figures reveal that the Capital is continually catching up on Glasgow, with its population expected to be just 55,000 short of its neighbour along the M8 by 2024, when Edinburgh's population will reach 497,319.
West Lothian has the largest projected increase in Scotland - its population of 164,641 is set to rise by 21 per cent to 196,439 by 2024.
The overall Scottish population is projected to rise over the next 15 years before declining slowly and is expected to fall below the five million mark in 2036.
Councillor Anderson said: "I believe that this is the best city in Britain and survey after survey shows that I'm not alone in that view.
"Edinburgh residents have very high levels of satisfaction with the city. That's no surprise.
"We have an excellent quality of life, a wonderful environment, low crime figures and three jobs for every jobseeker.
"Edinburgh already benefits from substantial inward migration - 24 per cent of the population was born outside Scotland - and that gives us a good mix of skills and talents."
All of the Scottish Executive figures are based on 2004 population figures and they reveal that around half of Scotland's councils will record population increases.
Stephen Gallagher, executive director of Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian, said: "Edinburgh is a key driver of the Scottish economy and it faces huge opportunities for growth over the next 20 years.
"In order to realise these opportunities, Edinburgh needs to plan for significant growth in terms of an increase in population as well as a bigger business base and increasing visitor numbers.
"Key to this will be developing greater links with neighbouring areas in the wider metropolitan region as well as with Glasgow to ensure Edinburgh has the scale necessary to compete more effectively on an international level."
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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