We need to encourage more people to move to Scotland

The number of pensioners is expected to increase by 240,000 over the next 25 years.
The number of pensioners is expected to increase by 240,000 over the next 25 years.

Scots are expected to live longer but inward migration will be essential to ensure the country’s population continues to grow, according to new national statistics.

The figures project that there will be 240,000 more pensioners over the next 25 years, an increase of 23 per cent, while the working age population reduces by 7,000 people.

No natural growth is expected, meaning that deaths are anticipated to outweigh births each consecutive year from now on, with the only population increase coming from inward migration.

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 to 80.6 years.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “We want people in Scotland to live longer, healthier and happier lives so this projected increase in life expectancy is extremely welcome.”

However, she added: “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.

“The Scottish Government recently established a Ministerial taskforce to look at future population challenges and develop new solutions to address demographic changes, including supporting rural settlement and growing our birth rate and working age population.

“However, 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.”

Paul Lowe, chief executive of the National Records of Scotland and Registrar General for Scotland, said: “Past trends suggest there could be more deaths than births in the next few years, with migration to Scotland projected to be the only driver of population growth.

“Over the next 25 years, there are projected to be a growing number of older people, fewer children, and the working age population is projected to make up a slightly lower proportion of our total population.”