Skip to content

Scotland’s labour productivity equalled UK's in 2011

The 2013 ONS analysis of the characteristics of Scotland

The latest ONS Region and Country Profiles analysis takes a look at the regional characteristics of the nine regions within England and the countries of the UK, exploring aspects such as population, age, employment, crime and house prices. The profile of Scotland shows it to have one of the oldest populations of the UK with a median age of 41.5 years, and the lowest life expectancy at birth. Scotland contributed 8% of the UK’s economic output and the unemployment rate in mid-2013 was 7.2%.

Scotland is larger in area than any English region

Scotland covers nearly a third (32%) of the total area of the UK (77,900 square kilometres (sq km)), making it larger than Wales, Northern Ireland or any of the English regions. It has the lowest population density of any country in the UK or English region with 68 people per sq km in mid-2012. Its geography is highly varied, from rural lowlands to barren uplands and from large cities to uninhabited islands.

Scotland had a population of 5.3 million at mid-2012, 8% of the UK total. The population had increased by 0.3% since mid-2011, compared with 0.7% for the UK.

The country’s population has the lowest life expectancy

Life expectancy at birth in 2008 to 2010 was 75.8 years for males and 80.3 years for females. This was the lowest among the UK countries, compared with 78.1 and 82.1 years respectively for the UK.

The median age of Scotland’s population was 41.5 years in mid-2012, compared with 41.7 in Wales and 37.6 in Northern Ireland. This makes it one of the oldest populations among the countries of the UK and regions in England, compared with the UK figure of 39.7 years.

Scotland contributed 8% to the UK’s total economic output

Scotland was responsible for 8% of the UK’s economic output (gross value added or GVA) in 2011. Labour productivity (GVA per hour worked) was equal to the UK average, compared with London 29% above and Northern Ireland 16% below the UK average. In Q2 2013, the unemployment rate was 7.2%, lower than the UK average of 7.8%.

The proportion of children living in workless households in Q2 2013 was 12.0%; this is lower than England (13.6%), Wales (14.4%) and Northern Ireland (16.7%).

In April 2012, median gross weekly earnings for full-time adult employees in Scotland were £498, higher than Northern Ireland (£460) and Wales (£455), but similar to England (£513). Gross disposable household income (GDHI) of Scottish residents was £15,700 per head in 2011, compared with £16,000 for the UK. Scotland had the biggest decrease in average house prices in the year to June 2013 at 0.9%, compared with an average increase in England of 3.3%.

The traffic on major roads in Scotland increased by 5.8% between 2002 and 2012, the highest increase of any country or region in Great Britain and compared with 2.5% for Great Britain. Total greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland (excluding those from international aviation and shipping) reduced by 31% between the Kyoto Base Year and 2011. This was similar to the reduction in England and greater than the reductions in Wales (21%) and Northern Ireland (17%).

Where can I find out more about ONS regional statistics?

These statistics were analysed by the Sub-national Reporting team at the ONS using data from a range of official statistics. If you’d like to find out more about the latest regional statistics, please see our Notes on Sources, latest tables (260.5 Kb Excel sheet) and interactive mapping and charting tool or visit our Directory of Tables page. If you have any comments or suggestions, we’d like to hear them! Please email us at

Categories: People and Places, Communities, Neighbourhoods and Communities, Agriculture and Environment, Economy, Labour Market, Housing and Households, Housing Market, Population, Travel and Transport
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.