Outer Hebrides

Outer Hebrides Population Change 1901 to 2011
Year

Persons Present

Persons Resident

1901

46,172

 

1911

46,732

 

1921

44,177

 

1931

38,986

 

1939

38,529

 

1951

35,591

 

1961

32,609

 

1971

29,891

 

1981

31,884

30,713

1991

29,370

29,600

2001
2011

-

26,502
27,684

2026*

-

25,616

2041**

-

23,127

*2026 and **2041 figures are a population projection calculated by NRS based on figures from 2016. (Source: National Records of Scotland (NRS))

The 2001 Census population figure is based on those 'resident' on Census night. Previous Censuses have also considered 'persons present' in a household on Census night and therefore may not be normally resident at an address. It is considered that 'persons resident' is a more accurate indicator of the actual population. The 2011 Census showed that there was a 4.5% increase from 2001 when there were 26,502 people resident in the Outer Hebrides compared to a resident population of 27,684 in 2011.

Although based on slightly different criteria, a historical comparison of the figures indicate that within the 20th Century the population of the Outer Hebrides has dropped considerably in terms of actual numbers. Between 1901 and 2001 the population has fluctuated with different rates of change between decades. However, despite an increase in population between 1901 and 1911 and again between 1971 and 1981, overall within the last 100 years the population has declined by approximately 43% or 19,670 persons.

Components of Population Change mid- 2001 to mid- 2011

Area

Est. Pop 30 June 2001

Births

Deaths

Natural Change

Migration & Other Changes

Unattributable
Component

Est. Pop 2011

Population
Change

No.

%

Scotland

5,064,200

558,845

558,422

423

218,083

17,194

5,299,900

235,700

4.7

Outer Hebrides

26,450

2,414

3,693

-1,279

1,005

1,514

27,690

1,240

4.7

Shetland Islands

21,960

2,499

2,108

391

407

482

23,240

1,280

5.8

Orkney Islands

19,220

1,898

2,197

-299

1,397

1,102

21,420

2,200

11.4

(Source: National Records of Scotland (NRS), Population Estimates mid 2002 to mid 2010 Revised)

Between 2001 and 2011 all three islands groups have had either the same or a higher increase than the national average.  However, the rate of increase in the Outer Hebrides was lower at 4.7% while that in Orkney was particularly high at 11.4%. Only four Local Authorities experienced a decrease over this time period   

 

Outer Hebrides Population by Age Group 2001 - 2011
Age Group

Outer Hebrides 2001 %

Outer Hebrides 2011 %

0-4

4.9

4.9

5-19

18.1

16.4

20-44

30.2

27.3

45-64

27.0

29.9

65-84

17.1

18.7

85+

2.7

2.8

(Source: National Records of Scotland (NRS)

 

Age structure of the Outer Hebrides 2001 - 2011

Figure 1 : Outer Hebrides Population Age Structure 2001 to 2011

The age structure of the Outer Hebrides is changing and the population is ageing. In 2011 there was a greater proportion of the population in the older age groups than the younger age groups and this trend is continuing.