Demographic Profile of Perth and Kinross


Q. Assess the demographic profile of Perth and Kinross as evidenced in the 2001 councilcensus. How might this demographic profile impact on community care?

The most important revelation of the Scottish Census of April 29th2001 was that the of Scotland had risen by 63% between 1991 and 2001; whilst the White Scottish population has remained almost static at 1.3%. Moreover, whilst the is getting younger, the White Scottish profile shows a greater percentage of members of retirement age. The story then of the 2001 Census was essentially one of growing diversity in Scottish demographics. This brief essay considers the demographic results of the 2001 census for the Perth & Kinross area, and the implications of these population shifts for the councils of Perth & Kinross who will have to, in the near future, take the ethnic minority profile of their area into greater account in their educational, religious and social planning.

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Firstly, let us consider some of the general features of the demographic profile of Perth & Kinross as detailed in the 2001 Scottish Census. The total population of Perth and Kinross in 2001 was 134,949; of this number around sixty percent were of employable age. Of this sixty percent 134,949 5,241 economic and social migrants left the area and 5,442 entered (an increase in entry of 201). Of the migrants who left Perth and Kinross 4,193 were of working age whilst only 3,993 of those who entered were of working age (a fall of 202). Thus these figures tell that on the whole Perth and Kinross received an increase number of migrants into the area, though the percentage of economic migrants eligible to work fell. The origins of the migrants entering Perth and Kinross were as follows: 58% were from elsewhere in Scotland, 19% from England and Wales, 13% were of unknown origin, 10% came from elsewhere in the world and less than 1% came from Northern Ireland. 23.21 % of households in Perth % Kinross have members who hold and practise different religions from other members of that household; whilst the number of households where various members are of different ethnic origins is 0.74% (compared with Scottish average of 0.97%).

Turning to ethnic diversity in particular, the Scottish Census found that Scotland now has just over 100,000 citizens of ethnic minorities; this amounts to two percent of the national population of Scotland. In Perth & Kinross the population that belongs to ethnic minorities represents 1% and this is 1.3% of the total ethnic minority population living in Scotland. Nationally, and in Perth & Kinross also, Pakistanis represent the largest ethnic minority population, followed by Chinese, Indians and then citizens of a mixed ethnic background. Of the total ethnic minority population over 70% are Asian: Pakistani, Chinese, Bangladeshi, Indian or other South Asian. The next largest group are those people who describe themselves as of a and these represent 12% of the ethnic minority population. These figures represent a significant overall increase in the total ethnic minority population of Perth & Kinross in comparison with the 1991 census. Whereas the whole population rose by only 1.3% from 1991 to 2001, the ethnic minority population jumped by 63% (and likely much more due to the fact that figures of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants are not included in the census). An interesting feature of the demographic profile of the ethnic minority population is that (excepting Caribbeans) all other ethnic groups have 20% or more of their population aged sixteen or less (the Mixed Group percentage is 44%); whilst the figure for White Scots is 16.96%. Correspondingly, the ethnic minority population in Perth & Kinross has a smaller elderly population than the White Scottish population.

What then do these figures tell about the ethnic diversity of Perth & Kinross, and how do such findings impact upon policies of community care? The first important observation about the ethnic minority profile is clearly the leap of 63% between 1991 and 2001 a figure almost fifty times higher than the growth of the White Scottish population. Perth & Kinross however has only 1& of the total ethnic minority population of Scotland; the highest percentages being in major cities such as Glasgow (31%) and Edinburgh (18%). Moreover, the relative youth of the ethnic minority populations suggests that in the next decades they will produce a (relatively) higher percentage of citizens of working age; whilst the ageing White Scottish population will require a growing level of support in their retirement. In light of these changes, Perth & Kinross councils now have to begin community projects that reflect the growing diversity of its population. Schools, for instance, ought to have citizenship classes in which the virtues of ethnic diversity, ethnic tolerance, and religious tolerance are taught. Special classes should be arranged for where necessary; likewise, teachers should be aware of the religious practices of schoolchildren. Where there are large local councils might consider providing suitable facilities: mosques (and other religious buildings), community centres and so on.

In the final analysis, it seems evident from the demographic profiles of the 1991 and 2001 censuses that the population of Scotland generally, and Perth & Kinross also, is experiencing a rapid percentage increase of members who belong to an ethnic minority. What is more, this increase seems likely only to accelerate and to penetrate the more rural parts of Scotland as well as its cities. Accordingly, the Perth & Kinross council must make preparations to meet the religious, educational, and social needs of their rising ethnic minority populations. At the same time, the local White Scottish population and ethnic minority communities must learn an increasing tolerance for the cultural and religious outlooks of one another. Only if this tolerance is achieved can the product of these demographic changes be edifying for all concerned.

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