Good news – people in Scotland are living longer. Bad news – they aren’t all living *better*.
A report from the Scottish Science Advisory Council (SSAC) shows the population is ageing at a faster rate in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK. Fertility, life expectancy at birth and net in-migration are all lower in Scotland.
Commenting on the SSAC’s report, Age Scotland has called for an urgent national debate on the challenges posed by the demographic shift. Housing, health, pensions and employment will all be increasingly affected by Scotland’s ageing population.
All areas are expected to experience an increase in the proportion of population aged 75 and over by 2022. Rural areas will be most affected, at 50 per cent in the Orkney Islands and West Lothian compared to less than 10 per cent in Glasgow and Dundee.
The SSAC warned that rises in the state pension age could “disproportionately” impact Scotland, resulting in a deprived population of people in their 60s who are not able to work because of economic or health factors, but who are too young to access their pension because of changes made by Westminster to the age of eligiblity.
Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland welcomed the increased longevity in Scotland, but cautioned that more must be done to support older people both in and out of the workplace.
He said: “It’s good news that people are living longer but we’re concerned that Scotland is failing to plan ahead to future-proof its housing stock and workplaces, and tackle health inequalities. Too many older people are already stuck living in unsuitable accommodation and unable to move or downsize if they wish. We need to build more affordable, adaptable homes so that people are able to continue living independently in their communities. More of us are working longer, but many still face age discrimination and find their experience is not valued.
The SSAC’s findings come just months after similar projections from the National Records of Scotland.
For more on population, see our statistics pages.