Scotland faces population timebomb as pensioner numbers set to soar

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Scotland's population growth will be entirely down to migration over the coming decades - prompting fresh warnings about post-Brexit free movement curbs.

The number of people living in the country is set to reach 5.57 million by 2043, an increase of 2.5%, official figures today showed.

The number of people living in the country is set to reach 5.57 million by 2043. Picture: Andy O'Brien

The number of people living in the country is set to reach 5.57 million by 2043. Picture: Andy O'Brien


But the population is ageing with an increase of 240,00 projected, while while the working age population reduces by 7,000 people.

Read more: Home office accused of ignoring Scotland’s 'unique' need for migrant workers

No natural growth is expected as deaths outweigh births in the years ahead, with the only population increase coming from inward migration.

The Scottish Government's External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "Inward migration will be the only driver of population growth in Scotland, however, they do not take into account the damaging potential impact of Brexit.

Fiona Hyslop says Scotland must have greater control over migration

Fiona Hyslop says Scotland must have greater control over migration

“Our pension age population is projected to grow while our working age population falls, and could decline even further if EU migration is reduced.

"This is why Scotland needs inward migration to support our public services and economy, particularly in sectors like tourism, hospitality, construction and agriculture, but also to enrich and diversify our society."

Read more: Immigration is an ‘economic necessity’ for Scotland – CBI

A Ministerial taskforce has already been established to look at Scotland’s future population challenges and develop "new solutions" to address demographic changes,

Ms Hyslop added: "It is clear Scotland urgently needs powers to deliver a tailored immigration system so we can mitigate against the risks of the UK Government’s increasingly restrictive policies and ensure Scotland can continue to be a welcoming, progressive and diverse country.”

Population growth in Scotland could even stall by the mid-2040s as the fall natural growth outstrips outstrips immigration.

Life expectancy is projected to increase for men and women, and the gap between male and female life expectancy will narrow, with a baby girl born in 2043 living to 83.8 years and a baby boy living to 80.6 years.