From gov.scot two days ago:
‘Scotland’s population continued to increase between 2015 and 2016. Statistics published today by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that the estimated population of Scotland was 5,404,700 at 30 June 2016, which is the highest level recorded. The figures show a rise of 31,700 (0.6%) people over the year since 30 June 2015.’
Why was this both good news and evidence that it needs to go a little higher?
It’s reasonably modest growth compared to many other countries including England and the USA where rapid growth destabilises economies putting strain on social cohesion and on infrastructural elements like housing, roads, hospitals and schools. More modest growth can be absorbed while at the same time benefitting the economy with the new workers needed for economic growth and to work in the care industries where the aging population increasingly will need them. Affluent areas such as Northern Italy and Germany where population is stagnant or even declining are in deep trouble unless they permit quite a high level of uncontrolled immigration which brings unpredictability including rising crime and, in the worst, cases, terrorism.
One of the best examples of the need for some population growth or at least a replacement level birth-rate is Japan. See this:
‘Japan was one of the great powers of 20th century. It rose and fell, only to rise again – all within 100 years. The second rise is particularly notable: from 1955 to 1990 its nominal GDP grew from 8.4 trillion yen to around 430 trillion yen or about 12 percent per annum. Underlying factors behind the economic miracle are well documented. From 1990 till 2015, however, the nominal GDP has grown only to 499 trillion yen or at dismal 0.6 percent per annum. Radical monetary policies, liberal fiscal policies, speeches, criticisms, taunting – nothing seems to work…..Japan’s stock market indicators have not done well in the past two decades. How can a country lose its mojo so quickly? Have the Japanese people suddenly become less creative, less intelligent, less motivated and less hard working? Or is there something else that is responsible? The answer may lie in an altogether different matrix. During the boom years of 1955-1990, Japan’s population grew from 89 million to 124 million or around 0.93 percent per annum. In 1990-2015 period, however, population grew at a dismal 0.1 percent per annum. Did the Japanese suddenly stop having children in 1990? The data shows it was quite literally so. In each of the decades starting 1950 till 1990 the population grew at just over 1 percent per annum and then in the decade of 1990-2000, it dropped to 0.26 percent per annum.’
I think that’s clear and convincing. Scotland’s population growth is almost entirely due to immigration. There were slightly more deaths than births that year. However, the Scottish birth rate did increase ever so slightly at 0.7% and without immigration means there is not a crisis, without immigration, of the kind we see in Japan.