August 28, 2013
Increase in islands’ population
Interesting snippets occasionally still emerge from the most recent (2011) census -this time, some population trends on Scotland’s islands. The figures don’t try to correlate trends with levels of community land ownership, but it’s interesting to note that the largest rate of increase has been in the Western Isles (6%) where local people now own approximately 60% of the landmass. Where populations have fallen (Bute, Arran and Islay) community ownership is virtually non-existent.
The number of people living on Scottish islands has risen by 4% to 103,702, according to the latest census figures.
According to the census, which took place on 27 March 2011, islanders represented 2% of the population.
The largest numbers could be found on Lewis and Harris, which recorded 21,031 residents – an increase of more than 5.5% since 2001.
The census is carried out every 10 years. In 2011, Scotland’s population stood at 5.3 million.
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Where island populations rose
• Lewis and Harris – up 6%
• Shetland mainland – up 7%
• Orkney mainland – up 12%
• Skye – up 8%
A total of 110 islands are classified as “inhabited” for official purposes, with 17 having no residents on 2011 census day.
Fifty islands saw an increase in population between 2001 and 2011 – including three which had been zero in 2001.
Danna, Eilean da Mheinn, Inchfad, Inner Holm and Soay were each recorded as having just one resident.
Registrar General Tim Ellis said: “The population of the Scottish islands has increased over the last 10 years, however much of this increase is a result of the sizable population increases in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
“Some of the other larger islands such as Bute, Arran and Islay have seen population decrease over the decade.”