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Edinburgh to rival Glasgow in size by 2035

March 1 2012

Edinburgh to rival Glasgow in size by 2035
Talk of a north south divide could be supplanted by an east west split, if the latest population figures published by the General Register Office for Scotland are to be believed.

They show that all ten council areas projected to record a population fall by 2035 are located in the western part of the country, notably Greenock and Port Glasgow which will shed 13,000 citizens to just over 66,000 and The Western Isles which will slip by 2,970 to 23,220 residents over the period.

Edinburgh, by contrast, will be headed in the opposite direction as it experiences a population boom with 113,900 more residents to 603.000 by 2035 – putting it on nearly level pegging with Glasgow which will grow by just 60,000 to 693,000.

Demographers believe that an unforeseen consequence of devolution has been to permanently skew the as private sector firms and public sector bodies cluster around the Edinburgh Parliament building.

Scotland as a whole will see its population increase from 5.2m to 5.8m which Dr Chris Wilson, a reader in demography at St Andrews University, attributes to migration.

Wilson said: “More non-British people have moved into Scotland in the past ten years than at any time in recorded history.”


Neil C
#1 Posted by Neil C on 1 Mar 2012 at 15:08 PM
According to the article text, in 23 years time, Edinburgh will still have 90,000 less residents than Glasgow. Am I alone in finding the headline for this article rather misleading? Or is the site editor secretly trying to encourage buy-to-let property sales in the capital?
#2 Posted by Andy on 1 Mar 2012 at 15:18 PM
I agree with Neil above. A difference of 50,000 is still massive in population terms but to have a difference of 90,000 between the cities does not put them on a "par". 25 years is a long time and financial services in Edinburgh is in a much poorer shape than it was. Lets wait and see what actually transpires.
David Graham
#3 Posted by David Graham on 1 Mar 2012 at 15:23 PM
This article is very misleading. I doubt that Edinburgh will ever really rival Glasgow in size, as the article is merely talking about local authority boundary areas; hopefully by 2035, Glasgow's boundaries will have been expanded to include the whole city, as has been done in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, to reflect its true size and population of around 1.2/1.3million people. To base the size of cities on local authority boundaries is ludicrous, as it gives the impression that Edinburgh is larger than Manchester for example.
#4 Posted by urbanrealm on 1 Mar 2012 at 15:49 PM
I concede the title is provocative, ‘rival’ being perhaps too strong a term. Although much rivalry is certainly evident today never mind 25 years from now!

The numbers are debatable, I find it hard to believe that anyone can pin the ebb and flow of a population down to the nearest thousand over a quarter century, but the underlying trend seems clear.
#5 Posted by Chris on 2 Mar 2012 at 00:56 AM
Glasgow is seriously underbounded and cut off from true suburbia, whereas Edinburgh is the opposite with boundaries stretched out to the surrounding countryside.
#6 Posted by Brian on 2 Mar 2012 at 08:34 AM
Thatcher took its suburbs out of Glasgow,its time there was a line converted to light rail on road at the suburbs.
#7 Posted by Chantelle on 2 Mar 2012 at 09:03 AM
Glasgow also 'lost' much of its population in the 20th century with deliberate depopulation policies. However, even now, Glasgow's size is greater than Edinburgh -- and that's not even accounting for 'all' of Glasgow.
Alex the fish
#8 Posted by Alex the fish on 3 Mar 2012 at 16:42 PM
Regarding population forecasts for Scotland, lets wait and see if we get independence. There may well be a mass exodus!
Jimbob Tanktop
#9 Posted by Jimbob Tanktop on 4 Mar 2012 at 13:10 PM
Alex the Fish:

I was once asked (in 1997-98) to participate in an economic model building exercise which posited exactly what would happen over 25 years if Scotland voted for devolution, had full home rule (a la Bavaria, for example), went for indy or stayed as was (ie, no parliament).

As far as I remember, the status quo saw us decline in much the same way as we had been doing for 30+ years at that point. Devolution saw a slight incline in the economy and population - in the 13 years since devolution, Edinburgh has become the wealthiest city in the UK on a GVA basis, and Glasgow has had the 2nd fastest growing UK economy since 1999. We've also seen about a 4% increase in population. We got that pretty much right, tbh, though we underestimated the rise in house prices. I don't think anyone could have foreseen the rise of sub-prime CDOs, CDSs and all that stuff!

Full Home Rule saw a bigger jump, particularly in the cities - the Highlands, islands and Borders future prospects largely depend on wholesale land reform - but essentially constrained by the money required for proportionately large spending on defence, foreign affairs, spending of 'national' importance, such as the London transport network and 'unidentifiable' or 'other' spending, which accounts for about 12% of everything.

Indy is dependent upon who gets elected, but I do recall seeing a prediction for a 400% increase in house prices within the time span. We didn't project comm. prop. values, but I would imagine it would be much the same.

I had only ever worked in the private sector, but pulling apart exactly how the UK is governed, how govt. spending affects, well...everything, especially in comparison to other countries made me see things in a whole new light.
#10 Posted by SAndals on 5 Mar 2012 at 09:07 AM
Glasgow's Miles Bigger!
#11 Posted by Dandelion on 5 Mar 2012 at 15:59 PM
I hope all the public sector bodies do 'cluster' round the parliament, like fatty deposits round the heart and let Glasgow get on with it as it always did and will in the future. Its the kind of people that matter not the number of them. Let Glasgow flourish.
#12 Posted by dirige on 5 Mar 2012 at 16:25 PM
Density is a problem in Glasgow, while it used to be a far more packed city with almost twice the current population, a half-century of de-population has left it with large expanses of brown field, but instead of trying to fill these gaps and spread the city thinner, the city should return these to greenery and encourage increased density in the thriving areas.
#13 Posted by dial-a-lama on 5 Mar 2012 at 16:36 PM
As a neutral, there seems to be quite a few insecurity issues being displayed by the west-coasters here.....
Baron Hill
#14 Posted by Baron Hill on 12 Mar 2012 at 14:21 PM
The General Register Office has got it wrong! Based on past trends, I think that the populations of Glasgow and Edinburgh (council areas) in 2035 will be 593,278 and 593,279 respectively.
Robert Murray
#15 Posted by Robert Murray on 29 May 2013 at 21:34 PM
I agree with the comment about Edinburgh's council boundaries encompassing a vast catchment area well beyond the natural built up area of the city whereas Glasgow's was deliberately contracted in 1996. You could also throw in the snob suburbs who enjoy turning a quid in the city but are aghast at any administrative connection to it. You know who they are.
#16 Posted by Dunky108 on 4 Dec 2013 at 15:07 PM
Glasgow will have a metropolitian council by 2035 from cumbernauld to greenock and hellensburgh to carluke with a total population of 1.7mil with all the la.d neaded to reach a population of 4+ mil by 2135.

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