Edinburgh getting ‘healthier, wealthier and wiser’

Edinburgh is becoming an increasingly popular place to live. Picture: Scott Louden
Edinburgh is becoming an increasingly popular place to live. Picture: Scott Louden
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A FASTER growing population, more people in work, higher earnings and better life expectancy – Edinburgh tops a whole series of league tables compared with other parts of Scotland or the UK, according to the latest figures.

A new compendium of the Capital’s vital statistics also shows growing foreign investment, increasing levels of happiness and improved recycling rates.

The facts show that the city has much to celebrate this year

Two out of three people use public transport or walk or cycle to work.

More than nine out of ten state-sector school leavers are in work, education or training six months later.

And the proportion of the Edinburgh workforce with a degree-level qualification has risen from 46 per cent in 2013 to 54 per cent in 2015.

The facts and figures are spelled out in Edinburgh by Numbers 2015, the latest online document produced by the city council for investors and others.

It covers population, quality of life, environment, work, education, economy and enterprise, tourism, travel, housing and the social economy.

The figures show Edinburgh’s population has grown from 445,290 in 2003 to 487,500 in 2013, a 9.5 per cent increase compared with a 5.1 per cent rise for Scotland as a whole.

Child population has increased by 4.3 per cent in the same period, while Scotland as a whole saw a decrease of 3.6 per cent.

And the number of over-65s grew by 5.2 per cent in Edinburgh at a time when Scotland’s total over-65 population rose by 15.7 per cent.

A table of employment in nine major UK cities shows Edinburgh top at 73.5 per cent with Liverpool last on 59.2 per cent. The Capital also tops the league for average earnings per resident at £24,240, compared with bottom-placed Birmingham on £20,678.

Health is the biggest sector for employment in Edinburgh at 14.7 per cent, followed by finance and insurance at 11.3 per cent, education at 9.5 per cent and professional scientific and technical at 9.2 per cent.

Edinburgh’s “life satisfaction” rating, at 7.4, is just ahead of the 7.3 average for ten UK cities. And the number of people saying they were “happy yesterday” gave the Capital a score of 7.5, compared with the 7.2 average for ten UK cities.

Average life expectancy in Edinburgh is 77.6 years for men and 81.9 years for women, higher than the Scottish average of 76.9 for men and 81 for women.

The Capital had the lowest level of residents with “limiting health issues” – 16 per cent – out of nine major UK cities. Glasgow had the highest at 23 per cent.

People were also asked about what physical activities they had taken part in during the past four weeks. Swimming came out top at 13.8 per cent, with keep fit/aerobics next at 10.5 per cent, then cycling on seven per cent and gym/weight training on 6.6 per cent, football 5.9 per cent, golf five per cent, running/jogging four per cent, dancing 1.5 per cent and bowls 1.2 per cent.

When it comes to culture, 41.5 per cent said they had done nothing in the past year, but those visiting a museum had leapt from 18.9 per cent to 30.6 per cent and those going to an art gallery from 13.6 to 23.3 per cent.

Going to the theatre was up slightly from 29.8 to 32.4 per cent, while attending live music or a concert dipped from 34.3 to 33.1 per cent.

Tourism statistics show 2.15 million visits a year by domestic visitors and 1.3 million by those from overseas. Some 48 per cent of visitors stayed in hotels or guest houses and 35 per cent with friends or relatives. The National Museum of Scotland, the Castle and the Scottish National Gallery are the top three visitor attractions.

A total of 38.8 per cent of Edinburgh’s household waste was recycled last year – better than Aberdeen, Dundee or Glasgow – and the amount of rubbish sent to landfill has been cut from 233,000 tonnes in 2003 to 133,000 tonnes in 2013.

Economy leader Councillor Frank Ross said: “The facts in the latest edition of Edinburgh by Numbers speak for themselves and show the city has much to celebrate this year. The document is an essential resource for anyone looking to invest in the city or simply looking for key facts and figures about the Capital.

“The data is extremely encouraging and shows that the number of people educated to degree level has shot up since 2013. It also further strengthens our reputation as a knowledge-based economy, enhancing the attractiveness of Edinburgh for employers.

“The figures relating to the economy are strong, with foreign direct investments creating 1860 jobs in 2014.

“In terms of our social economy, the largest 70 local charities recorded £28.9 million in donations in 2014.

“On a lighter note, those planning to visit Edinburgh in the winter will be pleased to know our average rainfall from November to February is almost half that of the UK average.”


Top visitor attractions (2014)

National Museum of Scotland - 1,639,509

Edinburgh Castle - 1,480,676

Scottish National Gallery - 1,295,015

St Giles’ Cathedral - 1,029,359

Botanic Garden - 806,810

Edinburgh Zoo - 671,942

National War Museum - 593,639

Edinburgh Bus Tours - 528,887

Modern Art Gallery - 325,604

Our Dynamic Earth - 308,798

Largest Employers

NHS Lothian - 19,500

City council - 19,260

Edinburgh University - 12,650

Lloyds Banking Group - 9000

RBS - 8000

Standard Life - 5000

Scottish Government - 4000

Tesco + Tesco Bank - 2600

Police Scotland - 2560

Sainsbury’s + Sainsbury’s Bank 2230