With the independence vote on the horizon, Scotland’s policymakers must face up to the challenges of a falling working age population while also tackling significant public health challenges argues a new ILC-UK report.

The report highlights the demographic changes facing Scotland over the next 20 years - revealing that:

  • By 2037, Scotland’s working age population is expected to be 3.5% smaller than it was in 2013 – the largest percentage fall of any UK nation (England +5%);
  • Assuming employment rates by age remain the same, this would imply a fall of 45,000 (-2%) in total employment compared with a 1.7 million (+6%) rise across the UK as a whole; 
  • In the year 2014, it is anticipated that there will be 19 more babies for every 1,000 women aged 30-34 in England than in Scotland;
  • Since 1981, at birth male life expectancy in Scotland has been around 2 years shorter than across the UK as a whole.  However, to help ensure continued economic growth, Scotland will need to support longer working lives;
  • At birth disability-free life expectancy for males in Scotland is below State Pension Age and four years shorter than for the UK as a whole. It will therefore be particularly critical that Scotland addresses problems associated with health and disability in order to support longer working lives;
  • Over the next two decades the dependency ratio (the ratio of non-working age people to working age) will rise by 40% in Scotland by comparison to a 30% rise in the UK;

The report is being launched at an ILC-UK ‘Population Patterns’ event in Edinburgh – which is part of a broader series of events - supported by the specialist insurance company, Partnership Assurance.

Report author - Ben Franklin

Download the report below.

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