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Largest Cities in Scotland – By Size and Population

Largest Cities in Scotland – By Size and Population

Want to know which is the biggest city in Scotland? Here’s an updated list of the largest cities in Scotland by size and population in 2020.

There are only four major cities in Scotland that have a population of more than 100.000 people. Interestingly enough, only Perth, Inverness, and Stirling hold the status of a city in addition to the four major Scottish cities. 

In total, there are 655 localities where Paisley, East Kilbride, Livingston, Hamilton, Dunfermline, Cumbernauld, and Kirkcaldy are listed as the biggest towns in Scotland.

Glasgow

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland both in terms of size and population with a total of 612,040 residents. It’s also the third most populated city in the United Kingdom and has a relatively high population density at 9,210/sq mi (3,555/km2).

Glasgow has been transformed in recent years from an industrial center to a vibrant and artsy city. Additionally, the city is also home to the famous football teams Glasgow Rangers and Celtic.   

Largest city in Scotland

Photo: Claudio Divizia/Shutterstock

Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the second-largest city with a total population of 488,050 inhabitants. The old town attracts visitors from all over the world, and every year, the city also hosts the largest Hogmanay celebrations. 

Edinburgh is growing fast and experts estimate that it will become the most populated city in Scotland in the future. Edinburgh is also the capital of Scotland and features several educational institutions.  

Edinburgh

Photo: Richie Chan / Shutterstock.com

Aberdeen

Aberdeen is located in the northeastern part of the country and has a population of 200,680 residents. It’s often cited as the happiest city in Scotland although Aberdeen is also known for its moody weather and chilly climate.

Aberdeen city in Scotland

Photo: Clickmanis/ Shutterstock.com

Dundee

Dundee is an upcoming city that is located northeast of Edinburgh. It’s the fourth largest city in Scotland with a total population of 148,280 residents. In recent years, Dundee has reinvented itself with an aim to become a cultural center in the country. 

Dundee

Photo: Lisa A/Shutterstock

List of the most populated cities and towns in Scotland

Here’s a list of the 25 largest urban areas in Scotland and their total population as well as their council area. There is a total of 7 towns that have more than 50 000 residents, which means they would easily pass as cities in most countries.

Rank Name Population Council area
1 Glasgow 612,040 Glasgow City
2 Edinburgh 488,050 City of Edinburgh
3 Aberdeen 200,680 Aberdeen City
4 Dundee 148,280 Dundee City
5 Paisley 77,220 Renfrewshire
6 East Kilbride 75,120 South Lanarkshire
7 Livingston 57,030 West Lothian
8 Hamilton 54,080 South Lanarkshire
9 Dunfermline 53,100 Fife
10 Cumbernauld 50,920 North Lanarkshire
11 Kirkcaldy 50,010 Fife
12 Perth 47,430 Perth and Kinross
13 Inverness 47,290 Highland
14 Ayr 46,780 South Ayrshire
15 Kilmarnock 46,770 East Ayrshire
16 Coatbridge 43,960 North Lanarkshire
17 Greenock 42,680 Inverclyde
18 Glenrothes 38,510 Fife
19 Stirling 37,610 Stirling
20 Airdrie 37,410 North Lanarkshire
21 Falkirk 35,850 Falkirk
22 Irvine 34,090 North Ayrshire
23 Dumfries 33,440 Dumfries and Galloway
24 Motherwell 32,590 North Lanarkshire
25 Rutherglen 31,190 South Lanarkshire

Which is the biggest city in Scotland?

Glasgow is the biggest city in Scotland, both in size and population. The city’s total area is 142.3 sq mi (368.5 km2) compared to Edinburgh’s 102 sq mi (264 km2). 

Biggest city in Scotland

Photo: Christine Dodd/Shutterstock

Which is the biggest town in Scotland?

Paisley is the most populated town in Scotland with 77,220 residents. It is also one of the largest towns in the UK, which hasn’t yet been granted the official city status. 

Biggest town in Scotland

Photo: August_0802 / Shutterstock.com

The future of Scottish cities

Many of the Scottish cities will see further growth in population in the coming years. The city of Edinburgh is estimated to grow 7.7% by 2026 according to the National Records of Scotland.

Furthermore, Aberdeen and Perth are some of the fastest-growing cities in Scotland, and the counties of Midlothian, East Lothian, and East Renfrewshire are also expected to increase their number of residents by 2026 by several percentages.

Fastest growing cities in Scotland

Photo: Navin Mistry/Shutterstock

More reading from Scotland


How many of the largest cities in Scotland did you know about? Leave a comment below!

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