A decade of devolution has delivered an historic record population and a key driver for growth.
The first set of 2011 Census data, which are published today, reveal that Scotland’s population is now the highest in history, beating the previous record set in the early 1970’s and reversing declines seen in the decades since.
Along with increased productivity and continuing high rates of participation in the labour market, population growth is one of the three drivers of sustainable economic growth identified in the Government Economic Strategy.
Welcoming publication of the 2011 Census data, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:
“These figures represent an historic moment for our country. A decade and more of devolution has delivered a growing and record high population.
“That is not simply a sign of the dynamic, attractive nation we are building. It is also a key factor in delivering economic growth in future years.
“The Scottish Government set population growth as a key national target exactly because we know it is one of the most important drivers of sustainable economic growth. Today’s figures show that we are well on track to meet and even exceed that population growth target.
“Not only do these statistics represent the fastest growth rate between two census years in the last century, but demonstrate that our hard work to grow Scotland’s population to support economic growth, is paying off.
“Scotland has a large, established migrant community and we welcome the contribution new Scots are making to our economy and society.
“Scotland still faces challenges. In common with almost every mature economy, we have an ageing population, but these figures also show that the under-fives population is up by six per cent compared with 2001.
“Even with the limited powers devolution delivers, Scotland can rise to such challenges – the declines of previous decades have been reversed. Now the challenge is to continue to build the Scotland we all want to see: a more successful country, with opportunities for all to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. The Scottish Government is working hard to promote Scotland as a positive place to live, work, study and remain.”