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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 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 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.  


Photo: Richie Chan /


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/


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. 


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.

RankNamePopulationCouncil area
1Glasgow612,040Glasgow City
2Edinburgh488,050City of Edinburgh
3Aberdeen200,680Aberdeen City
4Dundee148,280Dundee City
6East Kilbride75,120South Lanarkshire
7Livingston57,030West Lothian
8Hamilton54,080South Lanarkshire
10Cumbernauld50,920North Lanarkshire
12Perth47,430Perth and Kinross
14Ayr46,780South Ayrshire
15Kilmarnock46,770East Ayrshire
16Coatbridge43,960North Lanarkshire
20Airdrie37,410North Lanarkshire
22Irvine34,090North Ayrshire
23Dumfries33,440Dumfries and Galloway
24Motherwell32,590North Lanarkshire
25Rutherglen31,190South 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 /

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!