The ageing face of Scotland’s population

Categories: Care.

Within this, the number of people aged 65 to 79 increased by 8% and those aged 80 and over by 19%, during the 10 years from 2001 to 2011. There were 230,000 people aged 80 and over in 2011 compared with 193,000 in 2001.

In comparison, the total population in Scotland increased by 5% between 2001 and 2011, to around 5.3 million.

The figures come from the first results from the 2011 Scottish Census, published last month.

In the rest of the UK, the percentage of the population aged 65 and over is 15% in Northern Ireland, 16% in England and at its highest in Wales at 18%.


As the number of older people increases, so does the number of people requiring care and the number of older people who provide informal care for friends and relatives.

Figures released previously from the Census in England and Wales highlighted an increase in the number of carers from 5.2 million in 2001 to 5.8 million in 2011 – staying at a constant 10% of the population. Census figures for the number of carers in Scotland has not been released yet.


Finance Secretary John Swinney suggested that many organisations would not survive without their elderly volunteers, as he gave evidence to Holyrood’s finance committee, which is looking at the impact demographic change and an ageing population will have on public finances and provision of health, social care and housing.

He told the committee: “I can think anecdotally of individuals who are thriving, utterly thriving, in their 90s and in need of next to no interventions from the state whatsoever.

“Clearly, longevity does mean that individuals in certain circumstances will require more support, but in other circumstances it means they can continue to make a vibrant contribution to our society.”

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