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Population Estimates (Current Geographic Boundaries): a data cube spreadsheet

Mid-year population estimates. Higher geographies are aggregated from 2011 Data Zones.

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About the Dataset
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Annual publication of mid-year population estimates by age and sex as at 30 June every year, where population for higher geographies is aggregated from the population estimates for 2011 Data Zones.

For population estimates based on 2001 data zones, see here.

Data zones are the small area geography used by the Scottish Government to allow statistics to be available across a number of policy areas. Data zones were initially set up to nest within council area boundaries and to have a population of between 500 and 1,000 household residents. As much as possible, data zones were set up to contain households with similar social characteristics and to take into consideration physical boundaries. More information on data zone geography can be found on the Scottish Government website. There are 6,976 data zones in Scotland.

Following the 2011 Census the Scottish Government completed a consultation on the redrawing of data zone boundary and finalised the new data zones. 2011 Data Zones were published at the end of 2014.

Intermediate zones are built up from data zones. Intermediate zones are the statistical small geographical areas designed to contain a population of between 2,500 and 6,000 household residents. There are 1,235 intermediate zones in Scotland. More information on intermediate geography can be found on the Scottish Government website.

For more information on population statistics, please see the NRS website here:

Single year of age population estimates are available on the NRS website here:

Confidentiality Policy

This dataset does not contain any sensitive or personal information.

Quality Management

The population estimates undergo quality assurance at each stage of production. NRS also have processes in place to quality assure the administrative sources used in the production of population estimates. Further information on the quality assurance of the population estimates can be found in the Mid-year Population Estimates Methodology Guide on the National Records of Scotland (NRS) website.

Accuracy and Reliability

Population estimates are based on the 2011 Census and updated annually by 'ageing on' the population and applying information on births, deaths and migration.

Coherence and Comparability

Coherence - Further information on the population estimates can be found in methodology sections on the National Records of Scotland (NRS) website for Mid-year Population Estimates and Small Area Population Estimates.

Comparability - The statistics are designed to be consistent, and incorporate comparable historical data where appropriate. The small area estimates are consistent with the higher level mid-year estimates for council areas and for Scotland.

Accessibility and Clarity

It is the policy of NRS to make its website and products accessible according to published guidelines. More information is available in the Accessibility section of the NRS website.


Population estimates are used for a variety of purposes including resource allocation and planning of services such as education and health. They are also used for calculating rates and performance measures, informing local and national policy, weighting surveys and in modelling the economy. In addition, population estimates at data zone level can be used as building blocks for a variety of different geographies that can inform planning, provision of services at sub-council area level and allocation of resources. They are used as the denominator to calculate many per capita rates and are available to use as the denominator in devising other rates a user might wish to create. The estimates are also important in a number of other applications, such as the development and maintenance of the Scottish Government’s Urban Rural Classification and the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).

Timeliness and Punctuality

The estimates refer to the population as at 30 June each year. The population estimates for Scotland, council areas and health board areas are published ten months after this date. The small area population estimates are published fourteen months after this date.

Mid-year population estimates at Scotland and council level, and Health Board areas are published by NRS in April every year. Small area population estimates at data zone and intermediate zone levels, Scottish Parliamentary Constituency and UK Parliamentary Constituency, are published by NRS in August every year. The dates of publications are preannounced on the Future Publications section of the NRS website.


Population estimates are not subject to scheduled revision.

Revisions and corrections to previously published statistics are dealt with in accordance with the Scottish Government Statistician Group corporate policy statement on revisions and corrections - a copy of which is available on the Scottish Government website.

In February 2019, we updated our methodology for allocating datazones to higher geographies to align with Government Statistical Service Geography Policy. This resulted in revisions to some aggregated figures at Electoral Ward and Scottish Parliament Constituency level.


This slice of multidimensional data is not a Linked Data resource in the database: it's a virtual resource (i.e. you can't query it by SPARQL). But does have a permanent unique URL which can be bookmarked.