Population information plays a vital part in many aspects of local authority functions and has implications for policy makers and for an area’s economic growth, demand on public services, and overall levels of public spending. It also impacts on the funding of both national and local government for current and future years.
Some of the main population implications for policy makers in Fife include–
- Fife’s population, as in other areas of Scotland, is ageing due to a relatively low birth rate and increasing life expectancy. This means that Fife is facing an increasing imbalance in its dependency ratio (the number of working age people, as a proportion of the two other main groups – children, and older people, i.e. those that may have a “dependency” on the working age population).
- Fluctuations in numbers of school children over the short, medium and longer terms have policy and service implications for delivery and location of education services, and associated childcare provision.
- One of Fife’s main components of economic growth will be its working age population, and the availability of appropriate skills, particularly those available from a reducing number of those in the younger working age groups.
- As the number of older people in Fife continues to rise, this will have implications for care services.
As demographic change has an impact on so many policy areas, it is crucial that good quality information is available to inform policy and financial decisions.
The main source of information for population is produced by the National Records of Scotland (NRS). The NRS produce a variety of population and demographic information for Scotland, including information at local authority and health board area, and at lower level geographies.
Population information can be classified under one of three main headings:
Census information – a wide range of population and demographic information available as at 27th March 2011.
Population estimates – estimates of the official resident population as at 30 June each year.
Population projections – estimates of future population projections for the next 25-year period, produced every two years.
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