This month we will appraise the market in Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, before moving on to its capital, Edinburgh, next month.
Background and demographics
Glasgow has a population around 1.8m making it the fifth largest urban area in the UK. The wider city region includes East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire. Around 2.3m people or 40% of Scotland’s population are within an hour’s travel time of the city.
Figures from the ONS suggest the city population has grown by only 1% over the last five years. This is the lowest growth rate of any UK city, around half that of Edinburgh, and compares to London’s 6% growth. Official projections suggest modest growth of the city population by 2.2% to around 1.84m by 2025 compared to Edinburgh’s projected growth of around 7%.
In a time when many cities have experienced significant population growth due to migration, net migration into Glasgow has been only approximately 3,000 people over the last five years.
Glasgow has the largest economy in Scotland and the fourth largest economy in the UK with a GVA of £25.8bn (Centre for Cities figures). For comparison, Birmingham and Manchester each produce around £50bn GVA.
The economy was historically heavy industrial, based around shipbuilding, engineering, chemicals and textiles. These industries continue in rationalised forms (manufacturing accounts for 5% of the economy) but today’s significant industries are education, healthcare, financial and business services, transport and logistics and construction. Newer and emerging industries include digital technology, engineering design, marine technology, biotechnology, health and life sciences, low carbon industries and the creative sector.