While the decade between 2009-2019 was a period of overall population increase in North East Scotland, recent years have seen a reversal of this trend, most likely due to the loss of jobs in the oil and gas sector, and the effects of both Brexit and Covid-19 on inward migration.

Between mid-2018 and mid-2019, both Aberdeen City and Moray experienced an increase (by 0.5% and 0.3%, respectively) while Aberdeenshire experienced a net decrease in population (by 0.1%).[1] An increase in migration away from the North East to the rest of Scotland and the rest of the UK peaked in 2015-16, and overseas migration into the North East has been declining during the same period.[2]

However, nearly a third of Aberdeen City’s inward migration still comes from overseas, a figure comparable to Glasgow and Edinburgh.[3] Across the UK, people from ethnic minorities are more likely to live in cities and large towns than in rural areas[4] and this pattern is replicated across Grampian.


[1] National Records for Scotland (NRS), Mid-Year Population Estimates, Scotland, mid-2019. Link.

[2] 2019 Population Estimates Briefing Note, Aberdeen City Council. Link.

[3] National Records for Scotland, Mid-Year Population Estimates, Mid-2018-19, published April 2020. Link.

[4] SPICe Briefing: Ethnicity and Employment, Suzi Macpherson, 09 June 2015.