Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the fourth largest in the United Kingdom. Located along the River Clyde in the West Central Lowlands, Glasgow has an estimated population of 596,000 in 2014
The City of Glasgow reached a population peak of 1.089 million in 1950, at which point it was one of the most densely populated cities in the entire world. The 1960s saw the clearing of poor inner-city areas like Gorbals and the relocation to "new towns" that led to the population decline in the city. The boundaries were also changed twice in the 20th century, which makes it a challenge to compare the city's population over the last one hundred years.
City Size and Population Density
Glasgow has an estimated population of 596,000, which is little changed from 595,000 in 2012 and 593,000 in 2011. Glasgow has a population density of 3,400 people per square kilometer, which makes it the most densely populated city in Scotland. The larger Greater Glasgow area has an estimated population of 1.2 million, while the region surrounding the conurbation has about 2.8 million residents. This represents about 42% of the population of Scotland. Additionally, the city proper takes 175 square kilometers of area (approximately 68 square miles), while the metro area expands out to 3,338 square kilometers (about 1,289 square miles).
Glasgow has a much higher percentage of ethnic minorities than Scotland as a whole. At the 2011 United Kingdom census, the population of Glasgow was:
- White: 88.3% (Scotland: 96%
- Asian: 8.1% (Scotland: 2.7%)
- Black: 2.4% (Scotland: 0.8%)
- Christian: 54.5% (Scotland: 54.0%)
- Muslim: 5.4% (Scotland: 1.4%)
More than 15% of the population belongs to an ethnic minority group. In 1881, 83% of the population was born in Scotland, which rose to 93% in 1951. The Irish population also dropped during this time from 13% to 3%.
The early 1900s saw the influx of many Lithuanian refugees, with a peak population of 10,000 in the 1950s. There are many Italian Scots from Rome and Naples, who are descended from immigrants who came during the 1950s. In the 1960s and 70s, large populations of Asian-Scots settled in the city, along with Pakistanis (30,000), Indians (15,000), Bangladeshis (3,000) and Chinese immigrants.
Glasgow has the lowest life expectancy of any UK city at 73 years.
The area of Glasgow has been settled since prehistoric times. Glasgold as an established city got its beginnings from a medieval position as the country's second largest bishopric, or district under a bishop's control. It was recognized by King David I of Scotland and John, Bishop of Glasgow, growing in power during the 10th and 11th centuries. It became one of the richest and largest bishoprics in the Kingdom of Scotland.
Glasgow grew steadily over many centuries, with early trade focused on brewing, fishing, and agriculture. In 1611, it was raised to the status of Royal Burgh and its business began focusing on sugar, tobacco, cotton, and linen.
Glasgow became an international trade hub in the early 18th century, with more than 50% of British tobacco trade concentrated in the region by the end of the century. The Industrial Revolution caused the city to grow even more significant in importance and population, with a population that surpassed Edinburgh by 1821. It became the "Second City of the Empire" by the end of the 19th century with more than 25% of all locomotives in the world. It also became one of the first European cities to reach one million people.
The city was struck by the Post-World War I recession and the Great Depression, although it had a post-war boom through the 1950s. By the 1960s, competition from West Germany and Japan decreased the city's industrial position, and it suffered from urban decay, population decline, welfare dependency, poor health, and very high unemployment rates. In the 1970s, Glasgow demolished the city's slums and invested in infrastructure. It experienced a significant turnaround starting in the 1980s, and it is now one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the world.
Glasgow Population Growth
Glasgow has been growing slower than the national average of 5.0% with a growth rate of less than 0.5% in the last few years, and 2.5% in 2011. Recently, however, the city has started to grow much faster than predicted. Four years ago, it was discovered that the number of people living in Glasgow was rising for the first time in decades. In 2001, it was predicted that the population of 578,000 would reach 600,000 by 2018, but it has almost hit that point in 2014.
Glasgow still has problems to overcome. Half of the population is single, and the number of children aged 15 and younger fell by 10%, or twice the Scottish rate.