THE LATEST government projections show that the Scottish population will fall in the next 20 years without the influx of EU nationals.
Published yesterday by the National Records of Scotland (NRS), the findings claim that, unless Scotland continues as a member of the European Union, the population will begin to drop steadily after the year 2033.
Should current trends continue, the report says that if Scotland remains in the EU, we can expect a seven per cent population increase over the next generation, compared with a three per cent increase in the same period if Article 50 is triggered and restrictions are put in place.
The NRS say that current migration levels, which tally to around 9,000 a year, would see the Scottish population soar to over 5.7 million people by the year 2039. However, a hard Brexit would see numbers hit a peak of 5.5 million people in 2033 before beginning to fall.
UK projections, also predict an eventual population slow-down, though not quite as pronounced as Scotland.
Because migrants tend to be young working adults, experts say that decreasing their numbers will have an adverse effect on the national economy as a whole - especially as the number of over-75s living in Scotland are expected to double by the year 2039.
Speaking to The Herald, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “These figures highlight again the damage a hard Brexit will do to Scotland’s future. Scotland’s needs are different to the rest of the UK’s.
“Our fellow EU nationals have made an important contribution to Scotland and we need to maintain our reputation as a welcoming country for new Scots to contribute to our economy and society.”
Scotland achieved its highest ever population last year despite registering more deaths than births. The rise in population in recent times has been attributed to increasing migration from overseas and, to a lesser extent, from other parts of the United Kingdom.