Population of Islay in Decline

Scotland's census is the official count of every person and household, which takes place every 10 years. The Scottish government has asked people to fill in a census questionnaire to reflect their circumstances on 27 March 2011. The answers people gave to the census questions are intended to help shape Scotland's future. The results are used to produce anonymised statistics that help decide how billions of pounds of taxes will be spent every year on services everyone needs, such as education, transport and healthcare.

Scotland as a whole saw an increase in population, on census day in 2011 it was estimated to be 5,295,403, the highest ever. The new figures also show that the Scottish islands are enjoying a population boom. The increase over the past decade is highest on Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, which have, according to an article in the Scotsman, been labelled the happiest places to live in the UK.

Sadly, and quite in contrast with some of the other islands, the population of Islay has dropped almost 7%, from 3,457 to 3,228. The number of resident households were 1541 ten years ago and it is now 1479 (Figures in table A4). This is not the total number of houses on Islay, this is the number of houses that are lived in all year round. Holiday homes and second homes are not part of this figure. More information on these figures will be published later. Continue reading....

The trend of depopulation is rather worrying. As house prices go up, the young generation is forced to build up their lives elsewhere resulting in a population which consists for a larger part of elderly people. Already the number of deaths that are recorded in recent years are double the number of births in most years.

Because depopulation can have a rather devastating effect on the island, it is very important that something is done. For instance, affordable housing is a key issue. In this respect it is good to know that Argyll and Bute Council last month agreed its revised Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) which sets out housing projects for Argyll and Bute for the next five years.

Councillor Robin Currie said, "More housing for rent is desperately needed on Islay and I am pleased to say that in addition to the present eight houses being built in Port Ellen, the five year programme identifies 20 units to be built in Bowmore and 6 units in Port Charlotte. Also using other Government funds it is hoped that further houses can be built in Port Ellen within the next year or so. It is imperative that these houses are built, as for every house that comes up for rent in Port Ellen, for example, there are 14 applicants, and this is unacceptable." Lets hope that these numbers prove not to be too little too late....

Tag: census population