Shetland had one of the largest percentage population increases in Scotland last year, while the country as a whole recorded its highest population since 1979.
Statistics just released by the General Register of Scotland show the number of people registered in Shetland NHS board area as 22,210 in June last year.
This figure, comprising 11,214 men and 10,996 women, increased by more than one per cent in the previous 12 months. There were 278 births, 145 boys and 133 girls, and 211 deaths, 112 men and 99 women in that year. Life expectancy at birth at present is Shetland is 75 for men, in line with the Scottish average, while for women it is 81.5 years, nearly two years above the Scottish average.
The rise in population is put down largely to in-migration, more than half of which was from outside Scotland. Of the 804 people who settled in Shetland (632 left, meaning the figure for net in-migration was 172), 424 were from the rest of the UK or overseas while 384 were from Scotland.
In the same period, June 2008 to 2009, the estimated population of Scotland was 5,194,000, a rise of 25,500 on the previous year.
Population increases similar to Shetland’s were shown in the Grampian and Lothian NHS board areas, while Ayrshire, Arran and the Western Isles experienced declines of 0.1 per cent.
Commenting on the publication of “Mid-2009 Population Estimates, Scotland”, Registrar General for Scotland Duncan Macniven said: “Scotland’s population has reached a level not seen since the late 1970s. The increase in the year ending in June 2009 was 25,500, which was slightly greater than the previous year’s 24,300.
“The rise was partly because there were almost 4,600 more births than deaths. Migration accounted for most of the increase although, at 21,700, it was less than the record 27,000 net migration in 2006-07.
“Fewer people came to Scotland from the rest of the UK than in the previous year – a net gain of 4,100. But around 42,700 people came from overseas and only 25,200 went in the opposite direction, giving a net gain of 17,500 people (including asylum seekers) which is the highest net gain from overseas migration since current records began in 1991-92.”