EDINBURGH’S soaring population is set to outstrip previous growth forecasts.
Latest projections show the number of people living in the Capital rising by more than 28 per cent over 25 years, compared with a forecast 25.8 per cent increase just two years ago.
According to the statistics from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) the city’s population is expected to increase at more than three times the rate for Scotland as a whole.
Edinburgh’s population is forecast to grow by 28.2 per cent, from the 2012 figure of 482,640 to 618,978 in 2037.
In 2012, projections for 2010-2035 forecast Edinburgh’s population growth at 25.8 per cent.
Council chiefs welcomed the latest forecasts as evidence of the Capital’s vibrant economy, but said they also served as a “wake-up call” to make sure the city had the homes, schools and transport system to cope.
Scotland’s population is projected to rise by nine per cent, from 5.31 million in 2012 to 5.78 million by 2037, and continue to rise into the future.
But the pattern will be varied across the country. Edinburgh and Aberdeen are forecast to see the biggest rises, while 12 council areas are expected to have a fall in population.
City council leader Andrew Burns said: “The latest figures reinforce and surpass the projections we as a local authority were already working on.
“The whole of Scotland is projected to grow by nine per cent, but ourselves and Aberdeen are expected to increase by three times that amount, so that’s not far off a one-third increase in the population.
“While that’s very positive and attests to the vibrancy of the city and the wider region, there is no doubt it comes with massive challenges.”
He said the main ones were housing, transport and education.
“We are doing everything we can to be prepared. We’re just a few days away from the trams launch. That was always part of a long-term infrastructure plan.
“We have the whole wave three school rebuilding programme and we have a huge housing programme.”
The projections for Edinburgh suggest the growth will include a 27 per cent increase in children under 15, a 27.9 per cent rise in the working age population and a 30.9 per cent increase in people of pensionable age.
In addition to the main projections, NRS published a series of alternative forecasts based on different assumptions about migration and fertility, but in almost all cases, Edinburgh emerged with the highest percentage increase.
The “high fertility” variant produced a projected 32 per cent increase in Edinburgh’s population, while the “low fertility” variant put it at 26 per cent.
Cllr Burns said he was confident the unique character of the city could be preserved despite massive expansion.
He said: “We have to be careful not to allow that to be lost. But I don’t think growth and retaining that feel are mutually exclusive.”