Region’s population rises in past decade

THE Borders’ population has risen by more than 7,000 during the last 10 years, writes Kenny Paterson.

A total of 114,000 people lived in the region in 2011, representing a 6.7 per cent rise in the last decade.

The tally has increased by over 11,000 since 1991, with Scotland’s population as a whole increasing by five per cent to a highest-ever total of 5.295 million.

The figures come from the National Records of Scotland (NRS), which has released the first statistics from last year’s census.

NRS acting registrar general Audrey Robertson said: “These first results from the census confirm the upward trend in the size of Scotland’s population in recent years.

“At 5,295,000, the population is now the highest ever recorded. This increase is partly because there have been more births than deaths, but mainly because more people have moved to Scotland than have left.”

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont believed the region’s population increase was a sign of people living longer, with Scottish Borders Council estimating this month that an extra 3,000 people aged over 65 will be living in the area in the next five years.

With the statistics showing there are more Scots aged over 65 than under 16 for the first time, Mr Lamont said the findings had ramifications.

He added: “A rising population puts stresses on our public services and infrastructure. More people will be using our bus system, booking appointments at our health facilities and looking for places in our schools.

“It is important that we are able to deal with this challenge and ensure that we have measures in place to stop standards from dropping.

“It is important that our rising population is taken into consideration in any future spending plans for the Borders to make sure we can accommodate everyone.”

NRS figures also showed there are 2.567million men and 2.728million women in Scotland, with the most densely populated area being Glasgow (3,395 people per square kilometre) compared to the Western Isles and Highlands (9).

There were almost 300,000 children under the age of five, an increase of six per cent, but there was an 11 per cent decrease in youngsters aged five to 14, 69,000 less than 10 years ago.

The number of people aged 65 and over jumped by 85,000 (11 per cent) since 2001 and now represents almost a fifth of Scotland’s overall population.

And those aged over 80 shot up from 193,000 to 230,000, a rise of 19 per cent.

Compared to 100 years ago, the number of people living in Scotland has risen by just over 500,000.

And the population is considerable older, with those aged under 15 falling from 32 per cent to 16 per cent of Scotland’s people, while the proportion aged 65 and over has increased from five per cent to 17 per cent.

Further details on population, household estimates and socio-characteristics of the Borders will be released at different stages throughout 2013.