THE population of the Lothians is booming, according to the first results from last year’s census.
The number of people living in Edinburgh has risen by 6.3 per cent in the past decade while East Lothian’s soared by 11 per cent and West Lothian by 10 per cent.
The boom is thought to be due in large part to the number of people moving into the area, though a high birth rate could also be a factor.
Edinburgh also has the third highest population density in Scotland with 1812 people per square kilometre, well below Glasgow (3395) and Dundee (2457) but higher than Aberdeen (1201).
It put the Capital’s resident population at around 477,000 – up from 448,624 at the time of the previous census in 2001. Scotland’s population as a whole grew from 5,062,011 to 5,295,000 – an increase of 4.6 per cent.
The result is the highest population in Scotland’s history, beating the previous record set in the early 1970s and reversing declines seen in the decades since.
Figures have been rounded because data is still being processed and precise final numbers will not become available until next year, along with a more detailed picture of Scotland area-by-area.
City council leader Andrew Burns said: “The census figures show the city is still attracting people not just to work, but also to live, here. It is testament to the fact the city economy has been relatively resilient through the downturn, especially if you contrast it with other cities in Scotland and northern England.”
He said a large percentage of the population increases in the neighbouring areas could also be attributed to people coming to work in Edinburgh.
The census was carried out on March 27, 2011. It showed the number of people aged 65 and over had increased by 85,000 since 2001 and now represents 17 per cent of the population, while those aged 80 and over was up 19 per cent at 230,000.
There had been a decrease of 69,000 (11 per cent) in the number of children aged between five and 14 over the past decade.
But there were 293,000 children aged under five, an increase of six per cent from 2001.
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.”
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “These figures represent an historic moment for our country. A decade and more of devolution has delivered a growing and record high population.
“That is not simply a sign of the dynamic, attractive nation we are building. It is also a key factor in delivering economic growth in future years.
“The Scottish Government set population growth as a key national target exactly because we know it is one of the most important drivers of sustainable economic growth.
“Today’s figures show that we are well on track to meet and even exceed that population growth target.