Scotland's Population

Latest update: 13 July 2022

Whilst Scotland’s total population has grown, this is not uniform across all of Scotland. This measure helps monitor how many councils are experiencing depopulation. Over the latest year to mid-2021, eight council areas experienced a falling population including the cities and some areas in the west of Scotland. This is an improving position from 20 council areas in mid-2020.

See maps for details of population change by council area, as well as population change by small area (data zone), which show that every council has areas of population growth and decline.

The Scottish Government’s Ministerial Taskforce on Population is helping tackle Scotland’s population challenges – find out more about the population taskforce and access the population dashboard to see the full range of indicators being used to monitor progress.

The local authority with the largest percentage population decrease was Dundee City at -0.7% (a decrease of 1,100 people), while Midlothian had the largest percentage increase at 1.6% (an increase of 1,530 people).

While eight areas faced a decline in their population over the year to mid-2021, this varies by age group. The majority of council areas experienced a decline in the population aged 0 to 15 (26 out of 32).

The population aged 16 to 64 increased in most areas (22 out of 32) and all council areas saw an increase in the population aged 65 and over.

In the year to mid-2021, cities and some council areas in the west of Scotland experienced depopulation. In contrast, rural areas and areas neighbouring the larger cities saw the greatest population growth.

Find out more about this indicator.

Performance Improving

Toggle line chart