ILC highlights independent Scotland’s demographic challenges

Scotland’s working age population is predicted to fall by 3.5 per cent by 2037, while it will rise by 5 per cent in England, according to the International Longevity Centre.

Assuming employment rates by age remain the same, this would imply a fall of 45,000 (-2 per cent) in total employment compared with a 1.7 million (+6 per cent) rise across the UK as a whole, says an ILC-UK report on its May conference published today. 

Since 1981, at birth male life expectancy in Scotland has been around 2 years shorter than across the UK as a whole, meaning Scotland will need to support longer working lives help ensure its continued economic growth.

The report says at birth disability-free life expectancy for males in Scotland is below State Pension Age and four years shorter than for the UK as a whole.

Over the next two decades the dependency ratio – the ratio of non-working age people to those of working age – will rise by 40 per cent in Scotland by comparison to a 30 per cent rise in the UK.

An ILC-UK spokesperson says: “This report examines the difference between the demographics of England and Scotland, showing them to be closely aligned, and highlights the four key factors which an independent Scotland will need to focus on if is going to cope with the challenges and demands of its ageing population – fertility, migration, ageing and healthy life expectancy.”