Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Why is Scotland’s population shrinking and ageing?

18.04.2005


A new research initiative tackles Scotland’s key demographic issues

Yesterday, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) announces the launch of a new two-year research initiative into the demographic trends which could transform the face of Scotland. Funded in partnership with the Scottish Executive, this £300,000 research investment will investigate three key aspects of Scotland’s demography: migration, fertility and the impact of an ageing population.

Scotland’s population is changing and this poses critical challenges for policymakers. The key demographic trend is that Scotland’s population is shrinking and ageing. Existing evidence (see notes to editors, 1) suggests that:

  • If current trends continue, Scotland’s population will fall below 5 million in 2017 and reach 4.6 million by 2042. This means, in percentage terms, the population will be about 10 per cent smaller in 2042 than at present.

  • Scotland’s population is not only ageing but is expected to age rapidly over the next few decades. The number of people aged 65 and older is expected to rise by about 61 per cent from 819,000 in 2003 to 1.3 million by 2042. The number aged under 15 is expected to fall by about 30 per cent from 943,000 in 2003 to 677,000 by 2042.

  • The number of babies born each year in Scotland has fallen substantially over the last 40 years. Just 51,270 births were registered in Scotland in 2002, the lowest figure since civil registration began in 1855: 24 per cent less than in 1991 and 43 per cent less than in 1951. Although the number of babies born in the last two years has increased (provisional figures for 2004 show 53,957), the Scottish fertility rate is still at a historically low level. It is still too early to tell whether this recent increase will be sustained in the long-term.

  • Fertility is lower in Scotland than in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Fertility is also lower than in any of the English regions, including its near neighbour, the North East of England. Scotland’s level of fertility has halved since the ‘baby boom’ years of the 1950s and 1960s. It now stands 35-40 per cent below replacement level (i.e. the number of births required to prevent population size falling).

  • Outward migration is not a factor in declining population. About 70,000 people migrate to Scotland each year and approximately the same number of people leave Scotland each year.

While many European countries are experiencing falling birth rates and an ageing population, the demographic challenges facing Scotland are particularly demanding. An ageing and declining population has important implications for public services, the labour market and the quality of everyday life. Current population trends therefore pose important policy questions, argues Professor Ian Diamond, Chief Executive of the ESRC: “What implications does changing population have for the Scottish economy? Why is the population in Scotland falling when no other EU country is experiencing a similar decline? What can the government do to influence trends of migration and childbearing, to enable people to have the children they want at the time they want? This newly launched research initiative into Scotland’s migration, fertility and ageing population aims to ensure policymakers have appropriate evidence to debate these vital questions.”



The following six research projects, funded by this partnership initiative and supported by the General Register Office for Scotland, will address some of the key issues underlying Scotland’s changing demography:

1. Why is fertility in Scotland lower than in England? Researchers from the Universities of St Andrews, Essex and Stirling will analyse the variety of factors which may be discouraging women in Scotland from having children.

2. Fertility variations in Scotland. Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews will explore why fertility rates vary widely within Scotland.

3. Macroeconomic impacts of demographic change in Scotland. Researchers from the Universities of Strathclyde and Stirling will examine whether Scotland’s declining and ageing population does constitute a serious problem for the economy.

4. Scottish graduate migration and retention. Researchers from Edinburgh University will identify the kind of graduates who choose to stay in or leave Scotland, and the reasons which underlie these decisions.

5. Scotland’s ageing population. Researchers from Stirling University will use new modelling techniques to consider how population ageing may affect a range of policy-relevant issues such as how the care sector may change over time.

6. Scottish migration to, and return from, SE England. Researchers from the Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh and Strathclyde will investigate why Scotland no longer experiences net losses of population by migration.

Scotland’s demographic picture is complex and, at present, far from clear. These projects will, Professor Diamond argues, further develop understanding in the area of Scottish demography and assist policymakers to respond appropriately to the challenges – and perhaps even opportunities – posed by changing demographic trends.

Becky Gammon | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

nachricht Sustainable Development Goals lead to lower population growth
30.11.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>