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Thursday, 1 February, 2001, 18:15 GMT
Scotland's population set to fall
Births marriage death graphic
Scotland's population is predicted to fall
Scotland's population is set to fall in the next 25 years, according to official figures.

New data from the National Office for Statistics says the population of Scotland will fall to just over five million by 2026.

This trend is in stark contrast to Wales and Northern Ireland, where populations are predicted to peak in the next 30 years.

One explanation being touted for the population fall is the steady decline in recent decades of Scotland's main cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Glasgow
Glasgow's population has declined
The figures from the National Office for Statistics show that the UK population is set to increase by nearly 5m in the next 30 years.

But their Social Trends survey predicts the opposite for Scotland where the population is expected to drop from 5.1m to just over 5m in the same period.

Many areas of Scotland already have the lowest population density in Britain.

Two years ago, Scotland had an average of 66 people per square kilometre compared to the English average of 381.

During 1999, Scotland experienced its largest fall in population since official figures began.

Statistics published last year showed that 5,000 more deaths than births were recorded in Scotland in 1999.

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