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Census Finder

Caithness Population
(From The Third Statistical Account of Scotland, The County of Caithness, John Smith (Ed)
and The Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-1799, Sir John Sinclair (Ed), Vol XVIII)
1755 - 22,215
1790s- 24,802
1801 - 22,609 or 23,474
1811 - 23,419
1821 - 29,181
1831 - 31,459
1841 - 36,343
1851 - 38,709
1861 - 41,111
1871 - 39,992
1881 - 38,868
1891 - 37,177
1901 - 33,870
1911 - 32,010
1921 - 28,285
1931 - 25,056
1951 - 22,710
1961 - 27,370

Highland Population
2001 208,914

Population and Migration In the Highlands

General Register for Scotland
For population and census information

Nomis Unemployment Stats


Today, the Registrar General for Scotland released his Annual Review of Demographic Trends.

As well as updating the demographic trends presented in last yearís review, this report focuses on one of the biggest issues affecting population change in Scotland today - declining fertility.

The Registrar General, John Randall said:

"Scotlandís birth rate has fallen significantly in the last two decades and it is currently at the lowest level of any of the countries in the UK. Moreover, Scotlandís population is now declining more because of an excess of deaths over births than because of net migration loss and this is projected to continue."

Along with an overview of population change, this yearís review contains two chapters on fertility:

  • a detailed examination of recent trends in Scotlandís fertility;
  • an article commissioned from Dr Elspeth Graham and Professor Paul Boyle of St Andrews University, which places Scotlandís fertility in a wider geographical context, discusses the reasons for low fertility, and addresses the scope for policy intervention drawing on the experience of other countries.

The report highlights the following:


  • Scotlandís population fell in the year to 30 June 2002 to 5,054,800 (0.2 per cent down from mid-2001) - a level last seen in the first half of the 20th century.
  • Scotland has recorded a natural decrease (an excess of deaths over births) since 1997. The natural decrease (6,065 in 2001-02) was a larger factor in population decline than emigration, a pattern which is projected to continue.
  • Scotlandís population is getting older and is projected to continue ageing. Half the population is now over the age of 39, which is four years older than the 1991 equivalent.


  • The total number of births registered in 2002 (51,270) was the lowest total ever recorded. This is the sixth consecutive year where the total has reached a new low.
  • Falling birth rates reflect the fact that women are having fewer children and having them later. As a consequence, average completed family size fell below two for women born after 1953 and is expected to fall further for younger women.
  • Fertility rates for women in their 20s are little more than half the rate 40 years ago while rates for women aged over 30 have steadily increased. * In 2002, for the first time, fertility rates for women aged 30-34 overtook those for 25-29 year olds.


  • There were 58,103 deaths in 2002, an increase of 721 compared with 2001.
  • Stillbirth, perinatal, and infant mortality rates continue to fall and are at historically low levels, but remain above the EU average.
  • Expectation of life at birth continues to improve. The expectation of life for babies born in 2002 is 73.3 for males and 78.8 for females. Despite these improvements, expectation of life at birth in Scotland remains one of the lowest in the EU.
  • The main causes of death in Scotland are cancers and heart disease; over the last decade there has been a big fall in the latter but not the former.


  • Net emigration from Scotland is much lower than 40 years ago and even 15 years ago.
  • The pattern of net migration between Scotland and the rest of the UK varies markedly by age group for both males and females, with a net inflow peaking at age 19 and a net outflow peaking at age 23.
  • The peak ages for moves within Scotland (between Council areas) for males and females are the 20s and 30s with large peaks at the student ages (18-22).

Marriages, Divorces and Adoptions

  • There were 29,826 marriages registered in 2002, slightly more than the 29,621 registered the previous year.
  • The average age at first marriage continues to increase and in 2002 was 31 for males and 29 for females, four years higher for both than in 1991.
  • The number of divorces, while much higher than 30 years ago, has decreased slightly over the past decade.
  • The number of adoptions is 53 per cent lower than ten years ago and is the lowest total since 1931, the first full year in which adoptions were registered.

The Registrar Generalís Annual Review of Demographic Trends (ISBN 1-874451-71-0, #6) is available from the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) and the GROS website (www.gro-scotland.gov.uk). The detailed statistical tables which comprise the bulk of previous Annual Reports are available by contacting GROS Customer Services on 0131 314 4243.