Highland Profile

Geography | Population | Births and Deaths | Households and Housing  Employment | Environment 

This page contains some of the key facts and figures about Highland. You can view a wide variety of other information by visiting the pages listed in the "In This Section" to the right.

Geography

The Highland Council serves a third of the land area of Scotland – including the most remote and sparsely populated parts of the UK - and it has the seventh highest population of the 32 authorities in Scotland. The total land area including all islands at low water is 26,484 square kilometres. This is 33% of Scotland and 11.4% of Great Britain. It is 10 times larger than Luxembourg, 20% larger than Wales, and nearly the size of Belgium.

The length of coastline including islands at low water is 4,905 kilometres, 21% of the Scottish total, and excluding islands is 1,900 kilometres (49% of Scotland). Argyll and Bute has the next longest coastline with 3,723 kilometres, then Western Isles with 3,716 kilometres.

Click image to enlarge (image opens in a new window)

Map of The Highland Council area

Population density/area

Area (in square kilometres -
excluding inland water)
Population density
(number of people per square kilometre)
Badenoch & Strathspey 2,356 5.8
Caithness 1,805 14.6
Inverness 2,961 26.7
Lochaber 4,634 4.3
Nairn 424 30.7
Ross & Cromarty 5,108 10.6
Skye & Lochalsh 2,732 4.7
Sutherland 6,071 2.3
Highland 25,659 9.1
Scotland 77,925 68.2
Source: NRS mid-year estimates, 2012

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Population

Results from the 2011 Census show that the population of Highland on Census day was 232,132, and it increased to 232,910 in mid 2012. Highland generally has an older population profile than that of Scotland with a slightly higher percentage of children, but higher proportions in all the age groups above 45 years.

Health and Wellbeing profiles for children and young people also include information on populations.

  Highland Highland % Scotland %
0-15 40,881 17.6 17.2
16-49 77,459 33.3 37.9
50-64 69,522 29.8 27.4
65-74 25,312 10.9 9.5
75-84 14,572 6.3 5.8
85+ 5,164 2.2 2.1
Source: NRS mid-year estimates, 2012

Population by Area

Population
in 2012
% change
2002-2012
Badenoch & Strathspey 13,597 17.5
Caithness 26,299 4.0
Inverness 79,072 18.8
Lochaber 19,981 7.5
Nairn 13,013 15.0
Ross & Cromarty 54,092 9.6
Skye & Lochalsh 12,926 6.8
Sutherland 13,930 4.0
Highland 232,910 11.9
Scotland 5,313,600 4.9
Source: NRS mid-year estimates, 2012 & 2002

Population by settlement (main towns plus selected smaller settlements providing locally important services)

Settlement Population Settlement Population
Inverness 61,235 Portree 2,318
Fort William 10,459 Ullapool 1,541
Nairn 9,773 Kingussie 1,407
Thurso 7,933 Golspie 1,476
Wick 7,155 Brora 1,407
Alness 5,782 Dornoch 1,282
Dingwall 5,491 Mallaig 806
Invergordon 4,075 Broadford 747
Tain 3,655 Gairloch 684
Aviemore 3,147 Kyle of Lochalsh 649
Conon Bridge and Maryburgh 2,836 Fort Augustus 621
Muir of Ord 2,555 Lochinver 436
Grantown-on-Spey 2,428 Kinlochbervie 256
Source: 2011 Census settlement populations and Highland Council 

Populations Projections

The most recent population projections for Highland show that if current trends continue the population is expected to rise to 255,835 in 2035, a 15% increase from 2010.

Gender 2010 2020 2035 % Change 2010 to 2035
Males 108,740 116,450 125,570 15.5
Females 112,900 120,540 130,270 15.4
Total 221,630 237,000 255,840 15.4
Source: Highland Council based on information supplied by National Records of Scotland

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Births and Deaths

Births and Deaths 2012

Highland Scotland
Births
Total Live Births 2,380 58,027
Total Fertility Rate per Woman 1.85 1.67
Deaths
Total Deaths 2,238 54,937
Death Rate per 1,000 standardised for age and sex 625 641

Source: National Records of Scotland Vital Events Reference tables 2012

Major Causes of Death in Highland and a Crude Comparison with the Rest of Scotland

Highland - Number Highland as % of Scottish Total
Cancer - all types 677 4.3
- Lung, throat, mouth cancer 179 4.0
- Bowel / colon cancer

56

3.4
- Breast cancer 55 5.1
- Stomach / oesophagus cancer 55 4.2
Ischaemic heart disease 290 3.8
Stroke 206 4.6
Accidents 95 5.8
Pneumonia 53 2.5
Highland Population for Comparison 4.4
Source: National Records of Scotland Vital Events Reference tables 2012

Life Expectancy 2008 to 2010

Highland Scotland
Male 76.4 75.8
Female 81.5 80.4
Source: National Records of Scotland: Life Expectancy for Areas in Scotland 2008-10

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Households and Housing

Households

Household Type (as percentage of all households in area) Highland Scotland
1 adult: male 15.6 16.2
1 adult: female 19.6 20.3
1 adult, 1+ children 5.7 7.0
2 adults 34.1 30.5
2+ adults, 1+ children 18.0 17.8
3+ adults 7.0 8.0
Total Households (100%) 101,830 2,357,420
Source: NRS Household Estimates 2010

Household projections

2010 2020 2035 % Change 2010 to 2020 % Change 2010 to 2035
Highland 101,830 113,300 128,070 11.3 25.8
Scotland 2,357,420 2,588,600 2,888,230 9.8 22.5
Source: NRS Household Projections, 2010 based

New House Building - number of New houses Built

  Affordable (1) Open Market All Completions (2)
2001-02 127 835 962
2002-03 133 1,099 1,232
2003-04 139 1,138 1,277
2004-05 131 1,193 1,324
2005-06 145 1,220 1,365
2006-07 265 1,496 1,761
2007-08 375 1,470 1,845
2008-09 403 1,165 1,568
2009-10 368 751 1,119
2010-11 526 673 1,199
2011-12 304 753 1,057
2012-13 214 618 832
Source: 1) Scottish Government 2) Highland Council

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Employment

Occupations

Highland Number Highland % Scotland % GB %
Managers and senior officials 9,800 9.1 8.5 10.1
Professional occupations 15,300 14.2 19.9 19.7
Associate professional and technical 11,600 10.7 12.7 14.0
Administrative and secretarial 11,600 10.7 10.9 10.9
Skilled trade occupations 17,400 16.1 11.1 10.5
Caring, leisure and other service occupations 13,400 12.4 9.3 9.0
Sales and customer service occupations 8,100 7.5 9.1 7.9
Process, plant and machine operatives 7,700 7.1 6.4 6.3
Elementary occupations 12,500 11.6 11.4 10.8
Total Employed (incl. self employed) 108,000 100% 100% 100%
Source: NOMIS/ONS Annual Population Survey October 2012 to September 2013

Economic Activity (Age 16 to 64) 12 months to September 2013

Highland Number Highland % Scotland % GB %
Economic activity rate 107,400 78.0 76.8 77.4
% who are employees 85,200 61.9 62.4 61.1
% who are self employed 15,600 11.3 7.7 9.5
Unemployment rate 5,400 5.0 7.9 7.9
Economic activity rate males 56,800 82.3 81.6 83.2
% males who are employees 42,800 62 63.3 62.5
% males who are self employed 10,200 14.7 10.5 13.1
Unemployment rate males 3,900 6.4 9.0 8.4
Economic activity rate females 50,600 73.7 72.1 71.5
% females who are employees 42,300 61.7 61.6 59.7
% females who are self employed 5,400 7.8 4.9 6.0
Unemployment rate females 1,600 3.2 6.8 7.4
Source: NOMIS/ONS Annual Population Survey October 2012 to September 2013

Employment by Sector, Highland

Sector Highland Number Highland % Scotland % GB %
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 1,500 1.5 1.6 0.8
Mining, quarrying and utilities 2,400 2.4 2.8 1.3
Manufacturing 7,000 7.1 7.8 8.6
Construction 5,400 5.5 5.1 4.5
Motor Trades  2,000 2.1 1.6 1.7
Wholesale  2,800 2.8 3.1 4.1
Retail  10,000 10.2 9.9 10.2
Transport and storage (incl. postal)  5,000 5.1 4.0 4.5
Accommodation and food services  11,000 11.2 6.9 6.8
Information and communication  2,000 2.0 2.5 3.9
Financial and insurance  1,300 1.3 3.9 3.9
Property  1,300 1.3 1.3 1.6
Professional, scientific and technical  4,700 4.8 7.1 7.5
Business administration and support services  5,600 5.7 7.8 8.3
Public administration and defence  5,700 5.9 6.3 5.0
Education  7,800 7.9 7.8 9.5
Health  17,800 18.2 16.0 13.4
Arts, entertainment, recreation and other services  4,700 4.8 4.7 4.4
Total Employees 98,000 100 100 100
Full Time Employees 63,300 64.5 66.8 67.2
Part Time Employees 34,800 35.5 33.2 32.8
Source: NOMIS/ONS Business Register and Employment Survey 2012

Earnings 2013

  Highland Highland as % of GB Scotland as % of GB
Gross Weekly Pay (Median)
Male Full Time Workers £489.9 90.0 97.5
Female Full Time Workers £417.6 92.0 98.8
Full Time Workers £466.60 91.8 98.2
Hourly Pay (Median)
Male Full Time Workers £12.27 91.3 97.4
Female Full Time Workers £11.15 90.7 100.2
Full Time Workers £11.84 91.0 98.8
Source: NOMIS/ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2013, workplace analysis

Unemployment

Full, up to date, details on Job Seekers Allowance and other DWP benefit claimants in Highland are given on our unemployment and benefits web pages while local information for our Wards is given on ward profiles.

Highland Number Highland % Scotland % GB %
Economic Activity Rate (1) 107,400 78 76.8 77.4
Unemployment Rate (1) 5,400 5.0 7.9 7.9
Claimant Count (2) 3,911 2.0 3.2 3.0
Claimant Count Change - last 12 months (2) -1,008 -25.8 -18.6 -20.9
Source: NOMIS/ONS 1) Annual Population Survey 12 months to September 2013 (APS) 2) Job Seekers Allowance Claimant Count November 2013

The unemployment rate from APS gives a true measure of unemployment using the ILO definition (i.e. out of work, actively seeking work and able to start work) but is only available retrospectively as 12 month averages for large areas such as local authorities.  The claimant count is constrained by eligibility criteria but is up to date and available for small areas.

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Environment

Nature Conservation Designations

Designation Land area
(hectares)
% of Highland
land area
% of Scotland Total Land Area in Highland
land area
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) 534,671 20.2 52.4
Special Area of Conservation (SAC) 409,352 15.5 63.4
Special Protection Area (SPA) 464,909 17.6 46.2
National Nature Reserve (NNR) 84,584 3.2 68.7
National Scenic Area (NSA) 542,250 20.5 53.1
For comparison, Highland comprises 33% of Scotland's land area
Source: Scottish Natural Heritage, September 2012

Forested land cover - approximately 17% of Highland is forested, including over 500,000 hectares of woodland cover of which 70% is productive (coniferous) woodland.

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