National Records of Scotland

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Mid-2003 Population Estimates for Settlements in Scotland

Mid-2003 Population Estimates for Settlements in Scotland

Revised 1 June 2005


The publication Scotland’s Census 2001: Key Statistics for Settlements and Localities Scotland contained estimated Census Day populations for each of the settlements and localities in Scotland.

The tables attached to this note provide updated mid-2003 estimates for settlements. Table 1 lists these settlements in alphabetical order and also lists the Council area(s) in which each settlement is located. Table 2 lists the settlements in descending order of population size.

Revised versions of these tables were produced on 1 April 2005. These new tables contained only moderate changes to the settlement populations of Glasgow, Livingston and Lerwick, and also corrected the error in Table 2, where the two separate settlements called Thornhill had wrongly been combined. A further revision was made on 1 June 2005 to take the village of Darnick out of the settlement of Galashiels. This latter revision was made to reflect the fact that the Darnick portion of the Galashiels settlement as originally defined was (1) separated from other residential parts of the settlement by industrial development and (2) joined to that industrial development by a single postcode.

Mid-2003 estimates for localities within settlements were placed on this website on 28 April 2005.

Depending on how the annual cycle of producing Small Area Population Estimates (SAPE) settles down, it is hoped to produce settlements for any future given year by the end of the following year (e.g. the 2005 set of settlements should be available before the end of 2006).

It is intended to publish a report later this year which will highlight the different settlement populations in 2001 and 2003 and will also provide more details about the methodology used to calculate the estimates in both of these years.

Background notes

In the years between censuses, National Records of Scotland (NRS) maintains data on unit postcodes including a boundary enclosing all of the addresses assigned to that postcode. These postcoded areas are used as 'building bricks' in the definition of settlements.

NRS used Small Area Population Estimates (SAPE) as the basis for calculating which unit postcodes were classed as 'high density' in 2003 and which were not. A postcode was defined as 'high density' if one or more of the following three 'threshold' conditions were met:

  1. The number of residential addresses per hectare exceeded 2.1.
  2. The estimated population per hectare exceeded 5.
  3. The number of non-residential addresses per hectare exceeded 0.1.

While different thresholds were used for some islands areas in the 2001 settlements exercise, the same thresholds were applied to all parts of Scotland in 2003.

Once it had been decided which postcodes were high density, settlements were identified as groups of contiguous high density postcodes, such that the group had a total population of 500 or more.

The estimate for each settlement was then rounded to the nearest 10. For the small number of settlements which crossed local authority boundaries (Table 1), the population estimates for each constituent part of the settlement were also rounded to the nearest 10. As a result, the overall population figure for some of these settlements does not exactly equal the sum of its constituent parts.

In most cases, a settlement is exactly equivalent to the locality of the same name, in that the settlement is not divided into two or more localities. However, there are some settlements (around 35) which contain more than one locality e.g. the localities of Ayr and Prestwick are sufficiently close to one another geographically that they are classed as being in the same settlement. In such instances, the settlement has been given the name of its largest locality and suffixed by the words 'Settlement of' e.g. 'Ayr, Settlement of'.


1. Details are available on request of which settlement/locality (if any) each postcode was allocated to. Because of the way in which postcode boundaries are drawn, it is possible for some postcodes to contain residential addresses which might be regarded as part of a village/town/city but which have been excluded from the settlement/locality because the postcode contains a large amount of nearby rural land. For some postcodes, it may be possible to redraw the boundaries to obtain a tighter fit to the settlement/locality. With a reduction in the size of the postcode, its density is increased and this may result in it being included within the settlement/locality. We invite comments from local authorities and other interested parties specifying any such postcodes. Any changes made as a result of this consultation exercise cannot be made retrospectively, or to the 2004 settlements/localities exercise as postcode boundaries for 2004 have already been finalised. In addition, for any changes to be reflected in the 2005 settlements/localities exercise, NRS will have to be notified by Wednesday 13th July 2005.

2. NRS also invites comments about how a particular settlement is divided into localities e.g. is the division of the Settlement of Falkirk into the localities Carron, Falkirk, Grangemouth, Polmont and Denny the most appropriate division? Again, any changes resulting from this could not be retrospective. However, it is possible for changes to be taken on board in time for the 2004 settlements/localities exercise, which is likely to begin around October 2005.

The tables below have been made available as Excel and can be viewed in Comma Separated Value (CSV) or Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF).  

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Note: On 27 July 2007 the Mid-year population estimates for 2003-2006 were revised for the six Council areas of Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee City, Moray and Perth & Kinross. However, the statistics on this page were produced using unrevised population estimates. Revised statistics will be placed on this web page once they become available. More details on the Revised Mid-year Population Estimates 2003-2006 are available from this website.


Table 1
Mid-2003 Population Estimates - Settlements in alphabetical order
(Excel    CSV    PDF)
Table 2
Mid-2003 Population Estimates - Settlements in descending order of size
(Excel    CSV    PDF)

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