AN area in the town centre of Falkirk has the largest proportion of pensioners in Scotland.

Almost four out of five (79%) residents were aged 65 and over in a small area covering part of the town centre and Callendar Park, according to new figures from National Records of Scotland (NRS).

The Falkirk town centre and Callendar Park data zone had the highest median age of residents – 72 – with the area containing a number of developments aimed at older people.

NRS analysed the Scottish population using data zones, splitting the country into 6976 small areas, each with a population of somewhere between 500 and 999 people.

The data revealed that, by the end of June 2019, Scotland’s population had increased to a record 5,463,300 – a rise of 4.4% over the last decade.

But over the 10-year period it found that population had decreased in “mainly rural and island council areas, as well as areas in the west of Scotland”.

Over the decade between June 2009 and June 2019, it found that the population shrank in almost four out of five (79%) data zones in the Inverclyde Council area, with 75% of zones in the Argyll and Bute area and West Dunbartonshire also experiencing population falls.

In contrast, the population increased in 76% of the data zones in the Edinburgh City Council area.

There were also a number of data zones where more than half the population was aged 65 or over – in Blairgowrie West in Perth and Kinross (57%); an area covering Ayr South Harbour and town centre (54%); a zone in Earlsferry in Fife (52%); a zone in Kessington West in East Dunbartonshire (52%); and in Bothwell South in South Lanarkshire (51%).

Every council area in Scotland, apart from Dundee City, saw an increase in the average median age of its data zones between mid-2009 and mid-2019, reflecting Scotland’s ageing population, NRS found.

In the Western Isles the median age increased in 94% of its data zones between 2009 and 2019, according to the report.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “As these statistics starkly illustrate, while Scotland’s total population is the highest it’s ever been (5.46 million), we face a number of challenges.

“Against a backdrop of a record low in the birth rate, Scotland’s population is ageing and it is welcome that people are living longer. Many local communities have experienced population decline, particularly those in rural areas and parts of the West of Scotland.”

She added: “With all of Scotland’s population growth predicted to come from migration, the impact of Brexit means that in the future we may not have enough people of the right ages in the right places.”