Research and data

Towns and villages

There is no set rule as to what is meant by a town or village in the Scottish Borders. Towns are larger, and have:

  • a role as a public service hub for the locality in terms of local Government, health, education, care, wellbeing and social housing
  • a wider sphere of influence for the locality in terms of trade, employment, housing market and transport
  • a range of shops and commercial services that require a larger client base
  • a historical precedence as a centre of trade and power, such as having "burgh" status, key public buildings or monuments

    The following towns and villages in the Scottish Borders have a population of more than 500 people. The population figures used are the 2021 Small Area Population Estimates from National Records of Scotland:

  • Hawick (13,586)
  • Galashiels (12,302)
  • Peebles (8,581)
  • Kelso (6,861)
  • Selkirk (5,458)
  • Jedburgh (3,832)
  • Eyemouth (3,473)
  • Innerleithen (3,225)
  • Duns (2,887)
  • Melrose, excluding Newstead (1,904)
  • Tweedbank (1,994)
  • Coldstream (1,944)
  • Lauder (1,887)
  • West Linton (1,851)
  • Earlston (1,715)
  • Newtown St Boswells (1,465)
  • Chirnside (1,457)
  • St Boswells (1,418)
  • Cardrona (844)
  • Newcastleton (768)
  • Walkerburn (722)
  • Stow (718)
  • Denholm (710)
  • Ayton (602)
  • Greenlaw (600)
  • Yetholm (590)
  • Newstead (589)
  • Coldingham (512)

    33,525 people (28.9% of the Scottish Borders population) live outside settlements of 500 or more people.

    The current (2021) population estimate for Scottish Borders is 116,020 people.  This is 2.1% of Scotland's population.

    The 2021 population estimate for Scotland was 5.48 million.

    A profile of demographic data can be produced about any town or village in the Scottish Borders that has a population of around 500 people. Town and village profiles are available for the settlements listed above, on request.

    500 people is the minimum limit for which a settlement has its own Data Zone, which is the smallest unit of measurement for which annual population figures are normally produced. 

    Populations for settlements between 50 and 500 people are available from the 2011 Census.

    Sometimes, it can be discovered that a settlement has dropped below 500 people or risen above 500 people in the past 10 years.  This is usually resolved when Data Zone geographies are reviewed every 10 years, following the decennial Census.

Research and information team

Contact the Corporate Performance and Information Research and Information Team for demographics research-related enquiries

Address: Council Headquarters
Newtown St. Boswells

Telephone: 01835 824000