Immigration boost takes population to record 5.4m

A record high in Scotland’s population has been driven by inward migration, according to data published by the National Records of Scotland (NRS).

The latest estimate of Scotland’s population on June 30, 2016 was 5,404,700 – the highest ever and an increase of 31,700 on June 30, 2015.

That meant that in the year to mid-2016, in-migration exceeded out-migration by approximately 31,700 people — and this included an increase of around 22,900 from overseas and around 8,800 people from the rest of the UK.

Also published for the first time was analysis of European Economic Area (EEA) born residents living in Scotland by local authority area.

The data, based on 2011 Census figures, showed that people born in the EEA live in every local authority, from about 7% of the population of Aberdeen and Edinburgh to 0.9% in East Ayrshire.

According to these figures, 67% of EEA-born residents in Scotland aged 16 and over were in employment compared to 58% of the total population of Scotland aged 16 and over.

Also, more EEA-born residents in Scotland between 16 -74 years are educated to degree level (46%) compared to 27% for all people aged 16-74 in Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said: “These figures underline the key role migration has to play in our work to grow Scotland’s population.

“It is very welcome that people are living longer but we need to ensure we can grow our working age population to support our economy and society now and in the future when we expect more people to live longer beyond retirement.

“Scotland already benefits significantly from the contribution made by people from across Europe who have chosen to live, work and study here, bringing new skills and expertise and helping to underpin future economic growth.

“The Scottish Government is committed to continuing to encourage inward migration to support further population growth.”