Scotland’s demographic regime: Population and the politics of devolution

Graham, E. & Boyle, P. (2003) Scottish Geographical Journal, 119(4), 361-382. [SLS]

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Scotland, with just over 5 million inhabitants, is a small country relative to most of its neighbours in Europe, including England. Under the recently (re)established Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, devolved responsibilities have provided a new context within which the characteristics of its demographic regime have come to be seen as problematic. In this paper we review the empirical evidence underpinning political perceptions of a population ‘crisis’ in Scotland and argue that spatial comparisons have been particularly influential in this politicisation of population. We then examine the dimensions of the population debate through the voices of politicians and the media. We conclude with a brief consideration of the relationships between population and devolved politics, suggesting a direction for policy‐relevant research to which population geographers could make a major contribution.

Available online: Scottish Geographical Journal,


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