A ministerial task group has been set up to help solve Scotland’s future population concerns, including maintaining inward migration.
The Task Group on Population will examine challenges facing Scotland, including a falling birth rate, ageing population, and rural depopulation.
It will also focus on the dispersal of population across Scotland to ensure the economic benefits of future population growth are spread across all communities.
Scotland’s population stands at a record high of 5.44 million, according to the most recent official figures, driven by migration.
Natural change – births minus deaths – did not contribute to the population growth of 13,300 people in the year to June 20, 2018.
National Records of Scotland predict the Scottish population will grow to 5.69 million by 2041, a figure which is expected to be entirely reliant on continuing migration.
External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop will chair the new group.
She said: “We need to grow our population to ensure we have sustainable, vibrant and resilient communities and drive improvements in inclusive growth.
“In doing so, it is also imperative that we maintain inward migration to help grow the economy.
“It is welcome that people are living longer, though the continued availability of labour is essential to support our public services, boost our economy and address potential skills shortages in all sectors of the labour market.
“The focus of this task group will be on identifying the good work that is already under way across government, intensifying that work where needed as well as identifying and addressing further opportunities for change.”