The Scottish Census takes place every ten years, alongside similar information gathering exercises in all UK countries. The data gathered gives a snapshot of the characteristics of the people who live in Scotland on that particular day. The information is used to inform decisions and facilitate discussion about present and future service delivery.
There has been a census of some description every 10 years since 1801, with the exception of 1941. This provides us with a very valuable historical record and the ability to identify changes in social trends. Because information is available at many different geographical levels it also lets us compare different countries, regions and towns, both with each other and with the wider area they are situated in.
The first results from Scotland’s Census 2022 were released on 14th September 2023.
Find out more about the 2022 census, including next steps and how to stay informed, from Scotland's Census website.
On census day, 20th March 2022, the population of Scotland was estimated to be 5,436,600. This is the largest population ever recorded and an increase of 2.7% since the previous Census in 2011. Some local authority areas saw a decrease and others an increase, ranging from decrease of 5.4% in Na h-Eileanan Siar to increase of 16.1% in Midlothian. 51% of Scotland’s population are female, and 49% male.
The population of Scotland is ageing with 20% of people now aged 65 and over, compared to 17% in 2011. The proportion of over 65s ranges from 14% in Glasgow City to 27% in Argyll and Bute. 15% of Scotland’s population are children under 15 compared with 16% in 2011. The number of households in Scotland on census day was 2,509,300.
The number of households is growing faster than the population with an increase of 5.8% since the previous census in 2011. This is due to an increasing number of smaller households which is partly related to the ageing population. The change in the number of households since 2011 ranges from decrease of 0.1% in Inverclyde to increase of 17.2% in Midlothian.
The estimated population in Aberdeenshire in 2022 was 263,900. This is an increase of 4.3% since the previous census in 2011, and this is a higher rate of increase than in Scotland as a whole (2.7%). The 2022 census figure is just slightly higher than the most recent mid-year population estimate which means the population figures we have been relying on in recent years have been good estimates.
21% of Aberdeenshire’s population is aged over 65, just slightly higher than the Scottish average of 20%. This proportion has increased since 2011 when 16% of Aberdeenshire’s population was in the over 65 age group. Aberdeenshire has a slightly higher proportion of children under 15 (17%) than the Scottish average (15%).
The number of households in Aberdeenshire in 2022 was estimated to be 115,800 which is an increase of 10.6% since the 2011 census. This is a higher rate of increase than for Scotland (5.8%) and is the third highest rate of increase of all mid-year population estimates are produced annually in the years in between each census. They update the census figures by adding births, subtracting deaths and estimating net migration. Scottish local authorities with only Midlothian (17.2%) and East Lothian (13.7%) seeing greater proportional increases.
The estimated population in Aberdeen City in 2022 was 224,000. This is an increase of 0.5% since the previous census in 2011 but is 2.5% lower than the latest mid-year population estimate which may indicate there has been more out-migration from Aberdeen City than previously thought.
17% of Aberdeen City’s population is aged over 65, an increase from 14% in 2011, but, in line with other cities, the proportion of over 65s is lower than the Scottish average of 20%. Children under 15 make up just under 15% of Aberdeen City’s population which is close to the figure for Scotland as a whole.
The number of households in Aberdeen City in 2022 was estimated to be 109,500, an increase of 5.9% since the 2011 census which is almost the same rate of increase as for Scotland (5.8%).
Previous census results
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