They do not look too encouraging from the point of view of helping to achieve the aspiration to grow the population throughout the Highlands to 500,000; what do you think?
"As shown in Table 1, the 2008 population of Sutherland is estimated to reach 13,956.
Using national data and accepted pan-Highland assumptions this is projected to decrease by
2% by 2018. Deaths will continue to outnumber births and whilst overall there is set to be
positive in-migration this will be insufficient to offset the losses of population. Despite this,
there would be a 6% increase in the number of households due to changing patterns of
households and this means that some housing development would be necessary to cater for
the population’s needs.
In common with the rest of Highland, the population of Sutherland is ageing and this
trend is expected to continue. The age profile of the Area’s population is projected to change
significantly over the next 10 years. The number of older people is set to increase whereas
the number of core workforce and young people is set to decrease. A 29% growth in those 65
or older and a 24% decline in children are the headlines. This is due to declining birth rates,
the inevitable ageing on of the current population, the older age profile of in-migrants and the
continued out-migration of young adults. However, it is also important to note that the core
workforce would fall by 9% which could reduce the economic output of the area and hinder
the ability to provide and run the necessary services to sustain Sutherland’s communities.
Against this backdrop, the overarching aim of the Community Strategy for Sutherland
and revitalised population that enjoys a high quality of life.”
is therefore based on increasing in-migration and reducing out-migration (particularly of young people). This will of course also have the added benefit of sustaining local primary schools and other facilities. The Plan’s provisions are therefore based not on Table 1 but on a vision of maintaining a stable working age population (in terms of number of people) to 2026, as illustrated in Table 2.
Table 2 – Vision for stable working age population
2008-2018 (assumes a similar proportion of
future second / holiday home ownership and
a 25% flexibility allowance to allow
developers a choice of landowners, locations
+1304 (c. +130 p.a.)