The number of elderly Scots living alone is projected to sharply increase over the next two decades, a new report has found.
People aged 70 and over and living with no friends or relatives will rise by 49 per cent in the next 25 years, statistics published today by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) found.
The number of households north of the Border is also expected to rise by almost a third of a million in the same time period.
The SNP said the figures underlined the need for Holyrood to be given full powers over migration in order to grow Scotland’s working age population.
Older people are more likely to live alone than younger people, and more women are expected to live alone - reflecting their greater life expectancy than men and tendency to outlive their partners.
Anne Slater, acting chief executive and registrar general at the NRS, said: “The figures show a projected 317,000 extra households in Scotland in 2041 compared to 2016.
“This is partly because Scotland’s population is projected to increase in this period, but also because of our ageing population. Older people are more likely to live alone than younger people, and as more people live alone or in smaller households, the number of households will rise at a faster rate than the population.”
Household numbers are projected to increase in almost every council area over the next 25 years. The largest projected percentage increases are in Midlothian, East Lothian and the City of Edinburgh (36, 26 and 26 per cent increase respectively).
Household numbers are projected to fall in just four council areas: Na h-Eileanan Siar, Inverclyde, Argyll and Bute and North Ayrshire, with decreases of six, five, two and less than one per cent respectively.
SNP MSP Angela Constance said: “The Tories’ toxic approach to migration is costing Scotland dearly.
“Their ‘hostile environment’ policies are driving people away from Scotland, making it so much more difficult for us to attract the people with skills that we need to come and work in our communities.
“These latest stats make it abundantly clear we need powers over migration now in order to protect our public services and NHS.
“As outlined in the recent Sustainable Growth Commission report, migrants and population growth will play a key part in growing Scotland’s economy and allowing us to compete with other successful small independent countries.
“We need the powers to do things differently – for example, if we were to retain just 5,000 more international graduates in Scotland each year we’d boost the economy by £1.5 billion each year.”