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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 10:05 GMT
Scotland: Islands decline?
David Eyre
Political Journalist, Politics Show Scotland

The population of Scotland's islands continues to dwindle. Politics Show Scotland investigates.

Geese waddle past telephone box
Island populations are in decline

At the last count, in 2001, the number of people living on Scotland's 96 inhabited islands had dropped to below the 100,000.

That was a fall of more than 3,000 people since 1991.

Politics Show Scotland visits the island of Lismore off the West coast which had a population of just 146 in 2001.

In its heyday, in 1845, over 1400 people lived there.

We will be asking some of Lismore's younger residents whether they intend to stay on the island after they leave school and how they would like to see their community improved.

We will also be asking how islands like Lismore can attract more people and reverse the decline in population.

Economic decline?

Beach in South Harris
Empty beach in Western Isles

Islands across Scotland seemed to have suffered from depopulation partly because they can no longer rely on farming and fishing to sustain their economies.

But the picture is not so bleak for all of Scotland's islands.

There have been some successes, for example Skye and Arran, which have bucked the population trend.

Also on the island of Eigg where a community buy-out has helped to improve the situation. Politics Show investigates.

Politics Show

... That's the Politics Show Scotland, 12 noon, BBC 1 Scotland, with presenter Glenn Campbell.

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