Why is it important to know the size and vital characteristics of our population?
Population data are fundamental to our understanding of our region. We, along with our Community Planning Partners and our communities, use population data regularly to evidence everything that we do. Population counts show us how our people, our society and our local areas are changing. They also form the base that we need to calculate rates and percentages, to monitor whether our strategies and policies are working.
Our Corporate Performance and Information Research and Information Team use population data from official statistics sources such as the Population Census and the mid-year estimates from the National Records of Scotland. If you need any publicly available facts or stats about any aspect of your policy area or community and would like help finding it, contact us using the contact details below. Downloadable information and reports about the population of the Scottish Borders will be published we produce them.
Population data topics
The figures quoted below are taken from the National Records of Scotland council area profile for Scottish Borders Council. More detailed information on the topics listed below is also available to download, at council area or below.
- the population of Scottish Borders was 116,020 in mid 2021. This makes it a medium-sized Scottish Council Area in population terms, only with a bigger land area and a lower population density than most other Scottish Council Areas
- the population of the Scottish Borders increased by an above-average 8.5% between 2001 and 2021
- females made up 51.3% of the Scottish Borders population in 2021, similar to Scotland as a whole. This is because women tend to live slightly longer than men.
- the 45-64s age group made up an above-average 30.2% of the Scottish Borders population in 2021. The 16-24 age group made up a below-average 8.7%.
- the number of people within the 25-44 age group fell by 22.9% in Scottish Borders between 2001 and 2021, much worse than the 2.1% decrease in Scotland as a whole
- more information is available to download on population by country of birth and nationality
- Current population estimates by broad age category and gender are available at council area and small area levels from the Scottish Official Statistics Open Data platform
- Current population estimates (young and old) for children, over 70s and over 80s by gender are available at council area and small area levels from the Scottish Official Statistics Open Data platform
- Historical summary population estimates from the 2001 Census by age band and gender are available from the Scottish Official Statistics Open Data platform
- Mid-year Estimates of Small Area population estimates (MYE-SAPE) of settlements and localities by age band are available from the Scottish Official Statistics Open Data platform
- statistics on NRS Midyear Population Estimates, for totals and by age band, at Council and Intermediate Datazone levels, are available on the Population profile of the interactive ScotPHO Online Profiles Tool
- the population is projected to increase by a below-average 1% between 2018 and 2028, when all the effects of births, deaths and migration are considered
- an estimated 4,379 more people in Scottish Borders will die than be born in Scottish Borders between 2018 and 2028 - this is known as "natural change". This means that the population would decrease by an above-average 3.8%, if it were not for the effects of immigration - i.e. people coming into the region from elsewhere in Scotland, the UK or outside the UK.
- immigration is expected to boost the Scottish Borders population by an above-average 4.8%, which will help offset the natural decrease in the population
- the 75s and over age group is projected to increase by an above-average 29.6% between 2018 and 2028. The 45-64 age group will shrink by a worse-than-average 10.8% in the same period. The number of children aged 0-15 will reduce by 6.3%, which is similar to Scotland as a whole.
- Projected population estimates (2018-based, up to 2043) by age group and gender, with varying assumptions about migration, fertility, mortality etc., are available from the Scottish Official Statistics Open Data platform
- there were 852 babies born in the Scottish Borders in 2021, a higher-than-average decrease of 20.1% since 2001
- despite this, the Scottish Borders had an above-average Standardised Birth Rate (SBR) of 10.1 per 1,000 in 2021, compared with 8.7 in Scotland. This means that women of childbearing age in the region are having as many babies (or more) as their counterparts elsewhere in Scotland, despite there being a relatively higher proportion of women in the region who are past childbearing age
- there has been a marked decrease of births to mothers aged under 20, both in the region (a fall of 70%) and in Scotland as a whole (a fall of 76.5%), between 2001 and 2021.
- there has been a decrease in the Scottish Borders of births to mothers aged 30 and over between 2001 and 2021, whereas there has been an increase of births in this age group elsewhere in Scotland.
- the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is a demographic measure of the average number of children who would be expected to be born to each woman. In the Scottish Borders in 2021, this was 1.54 children. The TFR has decreased by 10.1% since 2001 in the Scottish Borders, which is not as fast as in Scotland as a nation.
- statistics on the number of births per calendar year or midyear-to-midyear for council areas and small areas are available from the Scottish Official Statistics Open Data platform
- statistics on the live birth rate per 1,000 population are available on the Health & Wellbeing and Children & Young People profiles of the interactive ScotPHO Online Profiling Tool
- there were 1,448 deaths in the Scottish Borders in 2021. There has been an above-average increase of 12.9% in the number of deaths in the region since 2001
- the Standardised Death Rate (SDR) in Scottish Borders in 2021 was 12.6 per 1,000 population, which is slightly above the 11.6 average for Scotland.
- there was a 20.8% increase in the number of male deaths in the Scottish Borders between 2001 and 2021, which is higher than the Scottish average of a 16.4% increase
- there was a 6.2% increase in the number of female deaths in the Scottish Borders between 2001 and 2021, which is slightly higher than the Scottish average of a 5.8% increase
- 75% of deaths in the Scottish Borders in 2021 were within the over 70s age groups
- the leading cause of death in Scottish Borders males in 2021 was Ischaemic Heart Diseases, accounting for 16% of all male deaths. Other leading causes of death for males were: Dementia and Alzheimer's, prostate cancer, stroke and lung cancer
- the leading cause of death in Scottish Borders females in 2021 was Ischaemic Heart Diseases, accounting for 9.4% of all female deaths. Other leading causes of death for females were: Dementia and Alzheimer's, Stroke, lung cancer and respiratory disease
- on average, one person in the Scottish Borders died every day in 2021 from Ischaemic heart disease, Dementia/ Alzheimer's or stroke
- cancers are also a leading cause of death but there are many different cancers, and they are categorised by type
- information is available to download on avoidable deaths, drug-related deaths, and homelessness deaths
- statistics on the number of deaths per calendar year or midyear-to-midyear for council areas and small areas are available from the Scottish Official Statistics Open Data platform
- statistics on the rate of infant deaths (under 1 year) are available on the Children and Young People profile of the interactive ScotPHO Online Profiling Tool
- statistics on smoking-attributable deaths are available on the Tobacco and Health and Wellbeing profiles of the interactive ScotPHO Online Profiling Tool
- statistics on alcohol-related deaths in men and women are available on the Alcohol and Mental Health profiles of the interactive ScotPHO Online Profiling Tool
- statistics on deaths from cancer or from coronary heart disease are available for council areas and intermediate datazones on the Health and Wellbeing profile of the ScotPHO Online Profiling tool
- in 2019-21, life expectancy at birth (LEB) in Scottish Borders was estimated at 82.5 years for women and 79.7 years for men (compared with 80.8 and 76.5 years respectively in Scotland)
- life expectancy has improved faster in the Scottish Borders than in Scotland for both men and women since 2001
- in 2019-21, life expectancy for people aged 65-69 (LE65-69) was estimated in Scottish Borders at a further 20.6 years for women and a further 18.8 years for men (compared with 19.7 and 17.4 years respectively in Scotland)
- LE65-69 has improved faster in the Scottish Borders than in Scotland as a nation for both men and women
- statistics on Life Expectancy and Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) by age, gender, SIMD quintile and urban-rural classification are available from the Scottish Official Statistics Open Data Platform
- more information is available to download on healthy life expectancy
- in 2020-21, 5,360 people came into the Scottish Borders (immigration) and 4,100 people left (emigration)
- this means that the Scottish Borders had a net immigration in 2020-21 of 1,270 people
- the Scottish Borders had a net immigration rate of 10.9 per 1,000 people in 2020-21, twice the Scottish net immigration rate
- there was a net immigration into Scottish Borders of children aged 0-15 and adults aged 30-79 in 2020-21
- there was a net emigration out of the Scottish Borders of adults aged 15-29 and over 80 in 2020-21
- statistics on Net Migration by age group are available from the Scottish Official Statistics Open Data Platform
Marriages and civil partnerships
- there were 606 marriages in the Scottish Borders in 2021, although the number of ceremonies has still not recovered to pre-Pandemic levels
- Civil Partnership was legalised in Scotland in 2004 for same sex couples and in 2020 (during the pandemic) for mixed-sex couples
- there has been a spate of Civil Partnership registrations in the Scottish Borders following the introduction of both laws
- following the relaxation of Coronavirus restrictions, there were 20 mixed-sex and 1 same-sex Civil Partnership registrations in the Scottish Borders in 2021
Historical population statistics
- historical records from Scotland's People
If you study, work or volunteer for a community group in the Scottish Borders and would like to know more about how to use these statistics, contact the Research and Information Team using the contact details below
Research and information team
Contact the Corporate Performance and Information Research and Information Team for demographics research-related enquiriesAddress: