This is the fourth in a series of posts. So far there’s been
To complete the picture we need to look at emigration, people leaving Scotland, and immigration, people entering Scotland.
This graph shows two statistics:
- Natural change: the number of births less deaths.
- Net migration: the number of people coming to live in Scotland less those leaving.
For each, a negative number means a drain on the population and a positive one means a boost. So you can see that although emigration caused the population to decrease from 1956 to 1965, this was roughly balanced by a positive natural change – the baby boom.
From the mid-1960s onwards natural change falls dramatically, in part due to the availability of the contraceptive pill, and since the mid-1970s Scotland’s natural change has just wobbled around zero; in other words, the numbers of deaths and births have been roughly the same.
So since the mid-1970s, Scotland’s population change is mainly due to net migration which was negative from the mid-1970s until the late 1980s, then about zero until it went positive from 2004 due to immigration from several newly admitted EU member states. You can also see that natural change then shifted from being negative to positive. This could be due to recently arrived young adults starting families.
The historical data for Scotland in the above graph ends in the year of the brexit referendum but data from the Office for National Statistics shows that net migration into the UK remained positive after 2016. It also shows that net migration from the EU has stayed positive but has decreased to a six year low, and that net migration from outside the EU has increased to its highest for a decade.
Public attitudes to immigration and reaction to it from politicians attained a new significance around the time of the brexit referendum, but I’ll leave that interesting and thorny topic for another blog post.