Population of Scotland

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Population of Scotland.

The population of Scotland on Census Day, 19th June, 1921, is found to amount to 4,882,288, of whom 2,348,403 were, male and 2,533,885 were female. The total population is 121,384 more than at the time of the previous Census, 2nd April, 1911, and the intercensal increase is equivalent to 2.5, per cent. of the 1911 figure.

The first official Census of Scotland was taken in 1801, and at that time the population was found to be 1,608,420. Since then a Census has been taken every ten years, and each successive Census has shown an increase of population. The population of Scotland exceeded 2,000,000 for the first time in 1821, exceeded 3,000,000 for the first time in 1861, and 4,000,000 for the first time in 1891. It is now fully three times what it was in 1801, and fully twice what it was in 1831.

The intercensal increase, 121,384, is the smallest such increase found to date, the previous smallest being ascertained by the Census of 1861, which was 173,552. The largest intercensal increases were those ascertained by the Censuses of 1901 and of 1881, these being 446,456 and 375,555 respectively.

The intercensal rate of increase, 2.5 per cent., is the smallest which has yet occurred in Scotland. From the second to the sixth Census of Scotland, i.e. those of 1811 to 1851, the intercensal increase was in each case found to be more than 10 per cent.—the maximum of 15.8 per cent. being found in 1821. By the 1861 Census an increase of only 6.0 per cent. was found, which rate was found in 1871 to have increased to 9.7, and in 1881 to 11.2 per cent. In 1891, the rate of increase had fallen to 7.8, but in 1901 it had again risen to 11.1. In 1911, the intercensal rate of increase was found to have fallen to 6.5, and the present Census shows a further fall, as above stated, to 2.5.

The male population, which numbers 2,348,403 shows an intercensal increase of 39,564 or 1.7 per cent., and the female population, which numbers 2,533,885, shows an intercensal increase of 81,820 or 3.3 per cent. Both these rates of increase are the smallest yet recorded. The previous smallest male intercensal increase was that found by the 1861 Census, and amounted to 5.4 per cent., and the smallest female intercensal rate of increase, one of 6.6 per cent., was also found in 1861.

The number of females in the population exceeds that of males by 185,482. The excess of females over males, is 42,256 more than that ascertained by the previous Census, and greater than the ascertained excess at all preceding Censuses, the maximum difference previously found being that of 1861, which was 162,598. In no intercensal period has the excess of females over males increased by so large an amount.

From 1831 to 1851 the excess of females over males was fairly constant, varying between 135,474 and 137,784, but in 1861 this excess was found to amount to 162,598. From then up to 1901 (except in 1891) the excess was a steadily diminishing quantity, dropping to 124,593, but since 1901 it has again been increasing, an increase of 18,633 being found in 1911, and one of 42,256 at this Census. The smallest difference between the male and the female population was 124,593 in 1901, and compared with this the amount found by the present Census is 60,889 more.

In the earlier Censuses, 1801 to 1861, the excess of females over males constantly amounted to more than 10 per cent. of the male population, a maximum of 18.5 per cent. being found in 1811. From 1861 to 1901 this rate was a falling quantity, attaining a minimum of 5. 7 in that latter year. Since 1901 it has been increasing, amounting to 6.2 in 1911, and to 7.9 in 1921.

The natural increase of the population, i.e., the excess of registered births over deaths during the intercensal period amounted to 432,048, which is 310,664 in excess of the actual increase of population during the period. This latter figure, 310,664, includes both the loss of population caused by migration, and those deaths of Scottish soldiers and sailors which occurred during the War outwith Scotland. In the following short table a comparison is made between the natural increase and the actual increase of population in each intercensal period since 1861. It will be observed therefrom that both the natural increase and the actual increase are less in this than in any intercensal period since 1871, but that the difference between the natural increase and the actual increase is the largest.

Period. Natural
1861-1871 414,726 297,724 117,002
1871-1881 468,883 375,555 93,328
1881-1891 507,492 290,074 217,418
1891-1901 499,812 446,456 53,356
1901-1911 542,843 288,801 254,042
1911-1921 432,048 121,384 310,664

From the passing of the Registration Act in 1854 up to 1911, it was the rule in this Department, as elsewhere, to make an estimate of the population for postcensal years on the assumption that the intercensal rate of increase of the male and female population, ascertained by the last Census, had continued. Since 1911, the date of the last Census, this method has been departed from, and in place of it postcensal estimations have been made by adding the excess in the number of births over that of deaths in the period and deducting any loss caused by emigration, the latter figure being supplied by the Board of Trade.

In the period now under consideration, 1911 to 1921, an additional adjustment of 74,000 was made in respect of war deaths among Scottish soldiers and sailors outwith Scotland. The estimate of the 1921 population made in this manner is found to differ from the actual population as ascertained by the Census by only 1,366 the former numbering 4,883,654, and the latter 4,882,288. This estimation error is far smaller than any previously found, being only 0.3 per thousand, or 1 in 3574. In 1911 the error in estimating the population of Scotland amounted to 214,542.

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