List of towns and cities in Scotland by population

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This is a list of towns and cities in Scotland with a population of more than 15,000, ordered by population, as defined and compiled by the National Records of Scotland organisation.

This article is divided into two sections. The first section of this article ("Localities") contains a list of basic populated areas ordered by population. The second section of this article ("Settlements") is a list of populated urban areas, some of which are composed of more than one locality, and which may span across the boundaries of more than one council area.

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All localities are either settlements, themselves, or contained within larger settlements. As of 2016, there are 655 localities in Scotland, of which 466 are also settlements. The remaining localities are contained within 53 settlements.[1]


In Scotland, locality refers to a populated area composed of contiguous postcodes with populations of at least 500.[a][3] The 51 localities with a population over 15,000 are listed below.[2]

Glasgow is the most populous locality in Scotland, and also the largest city; Greater Glasgow is the largest settlement
Paisley is the fifth most populous locality in Scotland, and the largest town by population
Stirling has the smallest population of Scotland's cities
Kilmarnock is the 15th most populous locality in Scotland, and the largest in East Ayrshire
Edinburgh, the capital city, is the second largest locality and settlement by population
Aberdeen is both the third largest locality and settlement
Motherwell is the 24th most populous locality, but anchors a defined settlement covering much of North Lanarkshire that is Scotland's 5th largest
As of mid-2016
Rank Locality Population Status Council area
1 Glasgow 612,040 City Glasgow City
2 Edinburgh 488,050 City City of Edinburgh
3 Aberdeen 200,680 City Aberdeen City
4 Dundee 148,280 City Dundee City
5 Paisley 77,220 Town[4] Renfrewshire
6 East Kilbride 75,120 Town South Lanarkshire
7 Livingston 57,030 Town West Lothian
8 Hamilton 54,080 Town South Lanarkshire
9 Dunfermline 53,100 Town Fife
10 Cumbernauld 50,920 Town North Lanarkshire
11 Kirkcaldy 50,010 Town Fife
12 Perth 47,430 City[5] Perth and Kinross
13 Inverness 47,290 City Highland
14 Ayr 46,780 Town South Ayrshire
15 Kilmarnock 46,770 Town East Ayrshire
16 Coatbridge 43,960 Town North Lanarkshire
17 Greenock 42,680 Town Inverclyde
18 Glenrothes 38,510 Town Fife
19 Stirling 37,610 City Stirling
20 Airdrie 37,410 Town North Lanarkshire
21 Falkirk 35,850 Town Falkirk
22 Irvine 34,090 Town North Ayrshire
23 Dumfries 33,440 Town Dumfries and Galloway
24 Motherwell 32,590 Town North Lanarkshire
25 Rutherglen 31,190 Town South Lanarkshire
26 Wishaw 30,290 Town North Lanarkshire
27 Cambuslang 29,100 Town South Lanarkshire
28 Bearsden 28,120 Town East Dunbartonshire
29 Newton Mearns 26,600 Town East Renfrewshire
30 Clydebank 26,320 Town West Dunbartonshire
31 Elgin 24,760 Town[4] Moray
32 Arbroath 23,940 Town Angus
33 Bishopbriggs 23,540 Town East Dunbartonshire
34 Bathgate 22,920 Town West Lothian
35 Renfrew 22,570 Town Renfrewshire
36 Kirkintilloch 21,380 Town East Dunbartonshire
37 Musselburgh 20,840 Town East Lothian
38 Dumbarton 20,560 Town West Dunbartonshire
39 Bellshill 20,290 Town North Lanarkshire
40 Peterhead 19,270 Town Aberdeenshire
41 Barrhead 17,610 Town East Renfrewshire
42 St Andrews 17,580 Town Fife
43 Bonnyrigg 17,530 Town Midlothian
44 Blantyre 16,900 Town South Lanarkshire
45 Grangemouth 16,650 Town Falkirk
46 Kilwinning 16,460 Town North Ayrshire
47 Penicuik 16,120 Town Midlothian
48 Johnstone 16,090 Town Renfrewshire
49 Viewpark 15,770 Town North Lanarkshire
50 Erskine 15,510 Town Renfrewshire
51 Broxburn 15,440 Town West Lothian
  1. ^ The definition as per National Records of Scotland does not always correspond to other definitions. For example, the adjoining East Renfrewshire localities of Busby, Clarkston, Netherlee, and Stamperland with a combined population 21,350 are each counted separately, despite normally being unified as Clarkston. The same occurs in nearby Giffnock and Thornliebank. The total population for this agglomeration across its six NRS localities is 37,720.[2] Conversely, the distinct villages of Easthouses and Newtongrange in Midlothian are not listed at all, presumably included in the figure of adjoining Mayfield; however, the smaller village of Newbattle is listed.[2] Also noteworthy is Viewpark, which appears to include Birkenshaw and Tannochside under a single North Lanarkshire locality in this data.


In Scotland, settlement refers to a "collection of contiguous high density postcodes bounded by low density postcodes whose population was 500 or more". For example, the area of Ayr includes the adjoining localities of Ayr and Prestwick.[a] However, most settlements coincide to a single locality.[3] The 44 settlements with a population over 15,000 are listed below.[2]

As of mid-2016
Rank Urban sub-area Population Localities Council areas
1 Greater Glasgow 985,290 Bearsden, Bishopbriggs, Bowling, Busby, Cambuslang, Clarkston, Clydebank, Duntocher & Hardgate, Elderslie, Faifley, Giffnock, Glasgow, Johnstone, Kilbarchan, Linwood, Milngavie, Netherlee, Newton Mearns, Old Kilpatrick, Paisley, Renfrew, Rutherglen, Stamperland, Stepps, Thornliebank Glasgow City,[b] East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire
2 Edinburgh 512,150 Edinburgh, Musselburgh, Wallyford City of Edinburgh,[c] East Lothian
3 Aberdeen 214,610 Aberdeen, Cove Bay, Dyce Aberdeen City[d]
4 Dundee 158,200 Dundee, Monifieth, Invergowrie Dundee City, Angus, Perth and Kinross
5 Motherwell & Wishaw 124,790 Bellshill, Carfin, Holytown, Motherwell, New Stevenston, Newarthill, Newmains, Viewpark, Wishaw North Lanarkshire
6 Falkirk 103,030 Brightons, Carron, Carronshore, Falkirk, Grangemouth, Larbert, Laurieston, Maddiston, Polmont, Redding, Reddingmuirhead, Rumford, Stenhousemuir, Wallacestone, Westquarter Falkirk
7 Coatbridge & Airdrie 91,020 Airdrie, Bargeddie, Chapelhall, Coatbridge North Lanarkshire
8 Hamilton 83,730 Blantyre, Bothwell, Hamilton, Uddingston South Lanarkshire
9 East Kilbride 75,120 East Kilbride South Lanarkshire
10 Dunfermline 74,380 Crossgates, Dunfermline, Inverkeithing, Rosyth Fife
11 Greenock 67,750 Gourock, Greenock, Port Glasgow Inverclyde
12 Livingston 65,810 Livingston, Mid Calder West Lothian
13 Inverness 63,220 Balloch, Culloden, Inverness, Smithton, Westhill Highland
14 Ayr 62,580 Ayr, Prestwick South Ayrshire
15 Dalkeith 52,260 Bonnyrigg, Dalkeith, Gorebridge, Mayfield,[e] Newbattle Midlothian
16 Kilmarnock 51,390 Crookedholm, Hurlford, Kilmarnock East Ayrshire
17 Cumbernauld 50,920 Cumbernauld North Lanarkshire
18 Kirkcaldy 50,010 Kirkcaldy Fife
19 Stirling 49,830 Bannockburn, Bridge of Allan, Stirling Stirling
20 Perth 47,430 Perth Perth and Kinross
21 Glenrothes 47,010 Coaltown of Balgonie, Glenrothes, Leslie, Markinch, Thornton Fife
22 Irvine 37,630 Dreghorn, Irvine North Ayrshire
23 Dumfries 34,030 Dumfries Dumfries and Galloway
24 Three Towns 32,540 Ardrossan, Saltcoats, Stevenston North Ayrshire
25 Methil, Leven & Buckhaven 30,530 Buckhaven, Kennoway, Leven, Methil, Windygates Fife
26 Kirkintilloch 29,450 Kirkintilloch, Lenzie East Dunbartonshire
27 Bathgate 28,470 Bathgate, Blackburn West Lothian
28 Bonnybridge 25,660 Banknock, Bonnybridge, Denny, Dennyloanhead, Dunipace, Greenhill, Haggs, Head of Muir, High Bonnybridge, Longcroft Falkirk
29 Elgin 24,760 Elgin Moray
30 Vale of Leven 24,300 Alexandria, Balloch & Haldane, Bonhill, Renton West Dunbartonshire
31 Arbroath 23,940 Arbroath Angus
32 Dumbarton 21,120 Dumbarton, Milton West Dunbartonshire
33 Alloa 20,730 Alloa, Sauchie Clackmannanshire
34 Peterhead 19,270 Peterhead Aberdeenshire
35 Cowdenbeath 18,960 Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly, Lumphinnans Fife
36 Barrhead 17,610 Barrhead East Renfrewshire
37 St Andrews 17,580 St Andrews Fife
38 Erskine 17,370 Erskine, Inchinnan Renfrewshire
39 Kilwinning 16,460 Kilwinning North Ayrshire
40 Larkhall 16,200 Ashgill, Larkhall South Lanarkshire
41 Penicuik 16,120 Penicuik Midlothian
42 Helensburgh 15,610 Helensburgh, Rhu Argyll and Bute
43 Broxburn 15,440 Broxburn West Lothian
44 Galashiels 15,040 Galashiels, Tweedbank Scottish Borders
  1. ^ The definition as per National Records of Scotland does not always correspond to other definitions. For example, the Greater Glasgow settlement under NRS stretches as far as Bowling, Kilbarchan and Newton Mearns due to the continuous chain of populated postcodes, but does not encompass places as close as Bargeddie, Barrhead, Chryston, Erskine, Kirkintilloch or Uddingston due to small gaps in this chain. If these gaps were counted, Greater Glasgow would extend as far as Ferniegair, Wishaw, Neilston, Denny, Airdrie and Bishopton.[3] In another example, Cleland, Gowkthrapple and Overtown are not included in the wider NRS 'Motherwell & Wishaw' settlement, while distinct towns such as Bellshill and Viewpark are included.
  2. ^ Does not include Carmunnock or Gartloch.
  3. ^ Does not include Kirkliston, Newbridge & Ratho Station, Ratho or South Queensferry.
  4. ^ Does not include Kingswells, Milltimber or Peterculter.
  5. ^ Mayfield with Easthouses and Newtongrange

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland, Mid-2016" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Mid-2016 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "NRS – Background Information Settlements and Localities" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Department of Constitutional Affairs". Retrieved 9 September 2009.
  5. ^ "Perth wins Diamond Jubilee contest to be named seventh Scottish city". BBC News. 14 March 2012.