The Scottish population grew to 5,463,300 in 2019, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
UK population as a whole rose by 361,000 (0.5 per cent) to 66.8 million in 2019, according to the figures, but overall growth has slowed to the lowest rate for 15 years.
By mid-2019, the population of England reached 56,286,961, compared to 5,463,300 in Scotland, 3,152,879 in Wales, and 1,893,667 in Northern Ireland.
Scotland’s population grew by just 0.46 per cent between mid-2018 and mid-2019.
It places Scotland just ahead of Wales’ population growth (0.45 per cent), but well behind England’s (0.55 per cent) and Northern Ireland’s (0.64 per cent).
It is the first time since the year to mid-2009 that Northern Ireland was the fastest-growing nation in the UK.
The ONS said one of the main factors behind Scotland’s sluggish growth was its comparatively old population. In both Wales and Scotland there were a higher number of deaths than births.
By contrast, in Northern Ireland, which has a comparatively young population (a median age of 38.9 years, compared with 40.3 years across the UK), records showed a higher number of births and a lower number of deaths.
Explaining the slow growth across the UK, an ONS statistician said: “The population grew at the slowest rate for 15 years between mid-2018 and mid-2019.
“This is due to the lowest number of births for 14 years alongside an increase in emigration and a fall in international immigration.”
While the number of children across the UK (those aged under six) increased by 8 per cent between mid-2009 and mid-2019, the number of people aged 65 and over went up by 23 per cent, while those aged 70 and over jumped by a quarter.
The working age population – those 16 to 64 years – showed the lowest growth of any age group over this period, rising by just 3 per cent.
The average (median) age for the population of the UK in mid-2019 was 40.3 years – one year higher than it was in mid-2009.
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