List of towns and cities in Scotland by population

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Map of Scotland showing some of the major towns and cities Scotland topographic map-en.jpg
Map of Scotland showing some of the major towns and cities

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. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland by both area and population, whilst the capital city, Edinburgh, is the second largest by population and area. The city of Stirling has the smallest population amongst Scotland's cities, with an estimate population of just over 37,000 inhabitants. In total, Scotland consists of eight cities, with multiple larger towns, the largest town being Paisley.


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.

All localities are either settlements, themselves, or contained within larger settlements. As of 2020, there are 656 localities in Scotland, and 514 settlements (i.e. 142 of the localities combine as elements of larger settlements). [1]


In Scotland, locality refers to a populated area composed of contiguous postcodes with populations of at least 500. [lower-alpha 1] [2] The 52 localities with a population over 15,000 are listed below. [1]

Glasgow is the most populous locality in Scotland, and also the largest city; Greater Glasgow is the largest settlement. Dawn over Glasgow (48659596342).jpg
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. Paisley, White Cart Water, from Seedhill.jpg
Paisley is the fifth most populous locality in Scotland, and the largest town by population.
Stirling has the smallest population of Scotland's cities. Stirling with Wallace-Monument.JPG
Stirling has the smallest population of Scotland's cities.
Kilmarnock is the 14th most populous locality in Scotland, and the largest in East Ayrshire. Train Station Panorama.jpg
Kilmarnock is the 14th most populous locality in Scotland, and the largest in East Ayrshire.
Edinburgh, the capital city, is the second largest locality and settlement by population. Edinburgh (14756698736).jpg
Edinburgh, the capital city, is the second largest locality and settlement by population.
Aberdeen is both the third largest locality and settlement. Aberdeen from Tollohill Woods.JPG
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. Street Modernization - - 3045085.jpg
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-2020
RankLocalityPopulationStatusCouncil area
1 Glasgow 632,350City Glasgow City
2 Edinburgh 506,520City City of Edinburgh
3 Aberdeen 198,590City Aberdeen City
4 Dundee 148,210City Dundee City
5 Paisley 77,270Town [3] Renfrewshire
6 East Kilbride 75,310Town South Lanarkshire
7 Livingston 56,840Town West Lothian
8 Dunfermline 54,990City [4] Fife
9 Hamilton 54,480Town South Lanarkshire
10 Inverness 51,600City Highland
11 Cumbernauld 50,530Town North Lanarkshire
12 Kirkcaldy 50,370Town Fife
13 Perth 47,350City [5] Perth and Kinross
14 Kilmarnock 46,970Town East Ayrshire
15 Dumfries 46,500Town Dumfries and Galloway
16 Ayr 46,260Town South Ayrshire
17 Coatbridge 43,950Town North Lanarkshire
18 Greenock 41,280Town Inverclyde
19 Glenrothes 38,360Town Fife
20 Stirling 37,910City Stirling
21 Airdrie 36,390Town North Lanarkshire
22 Falkirk 35,590Town Falkirk
23 Irvine 34,130Town North Ayrshire
24 Motherwell 32,840Town North Lanarkshire
25 Rutherglen 30,950Town South Lanarkshire
26 Cambuslang 30,790Town South Lanarkshire
27 Wishaw 30,050Town North Lanarkshire
28 Bearsden 28,470Town East Dunbartonshire
29 Newton Mearns 28,210Town East Renfrewshire
30 Clydebank 25,620Town West Dunbartonshire
31 Elgin 25,040Town [3] Moray
32 Renfrew 24,270Town Renfrewshire
33 Bishopbriggs 23,680Town East Dunbartonshire
34 Bathgate 23,600Town West Lothian
35 Arbroath 23,500Town Angus
36 Kirkintilloch 21,870Town East Dunbartonshire
37 Musselburgh 21,100Town East Lothian
38 Dumbarton 20,480Town West Dunbartonshire
39 Bellshill 19,700Town North Lanarkshire
40 Peterhead 19,060Town Aberdeenshire
41 St Andrews 18,410Town Fife
42 Bonnyrigg 18,320Town Midlothian
43 Barrhead 17,890Town East Renfrewshire
44 Blantyre 16,800Town South Lanarkshire
45 Penicuik 16,150Town Midlothian
46 Grangemouth 16,120Town Falkirk
47 Kilwinning 16,100Town North Ayrshire
48 Broxburn 15,970Town West Lothian
49 Johnstone 15,930Town Renfrewshire
50 Viewpark 15,830Town North Lanarkshire
51 Larkhall 15,030Town South Lanarkshire
52 Erskine 15,010Town Renfrewshire
  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 of 21,270 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 37,690. [1] 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. [1] 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. [lower-alpha 1] However, most settlements coincide to a single locality. The 44 settlements with a population over 15,000 are listed below. [1]

As of mid-2020
RankUrban sub-areaPopulationLocalities [lower-alpha 2] Council areas
1 Greater Glasgow 1,028,220 Barrhead, Bearsden, Bishopbriggs, Bowling, Brookfield, 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, [lower-alpha 3] East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire
2 Edinburgh 530,990 Edinburgh, Musselburgh, Wallyford City of Edinburgh, [lower-alpha 4] East Lothian
3 Aberdeen 220,690 Aberdeen, Cove Bay, Dyce, Milltimber, Peterculter Aberdeen City [lower-alpha 5]
4 Dundee 158,820 Dundee, Monifieth, Invergowrie Dundee City, Angus, Perth and Kinross
5 Motherwell & Wishaw 125,610 Bellshill, Carfin, Holytown, Motherwell, New Stevenston, Newarthill, Newmains, Viewpark, Wishaw North Lanarkshire
6 Falkirk 103,380 Brightons, Carron, Carronshore, Falkirk [lower-alpha 6] , Grangemouth, Larbert, Laurieston, Maddiston, Polmont, Redding, Reddingmuirhead, Rumford, Stenhousemuir, Wallacestone, Westquarter Falkirk
7 Coatbridge & Airdrie [lower-alpha 7] 90,690 Airdrie, Bargeddie, Chapelhall, Coatbridge North Lanarkshire
8 Hamilton 84,450 Blantyre, Bothwell, Hamilton, Uddingston South Lanarkshire
9 Inverness 79,400 Balloch, Culloden, Milton of Leys, Inverness, Smithton, Westhill Highland
10 Dunfermline 76,210 Crossgates, Dunfermline, Inverkeithing, Rosyth Fife
11 East Kilbride 75,310 East Kilbride South Lanarkshire
12 Livingston 65,770 Livingston, Mid Calder, Polbeth, West Calder West Lothian
13 Greenock 65,690 Gourock, Greenock, Port Glasgow Inverclyde
14 Ayr 62,270 Ayr, Monkton, Prestwick South Ayrshire
15 Bonnyrigg, Dalkeith & Gorebridge 54,940 Bonnyrigg, Dalkeith, Gorebridge, Mayfield, [lower-alpha 8] Newbattle Midlothian
16 Cumbernauld 52,420 Croy, Cumbernauld North Lanarkshire
17 Kilmarnock 51,370 Crookedholm, Hurlford, Kilmarnock East Ayrshire
18 Kirkcaldy 50,370 Kirkcaldy & Dysart Fife
19 Stirling 49,950 Bannockburn, Bridge of Allan, Stirling Stirling
20 Perth 47,350 Perth Perth and Kinross
21 Dumfries 46,500 Dumfries Dumfries and Galloway
22 Glenrothes 44,760 Coaltown of Balgonie, Glenrothes, Leslie, Markinch, Thornton Fife
23 Irvine 37,580 Dreghorn, Irvine North Ayrshire
24 Saltcoats [lower-alpha 9] 31,800 Ardrossan, Saltcoats, Stevenston North Ayrshire
25 Methil , Leven & Buckhaven [lower-alpha 10] 30,730 Buckhaven, Kennoway, Leven, Methil, Windygates Fife
26 Kirkintilloch 29,960 Kirkintilloch, Lenzie East Dunbartonshire
27 Bathgate 29,330 Bathgate, Blackburn West Lothian
28 Bonnybridge [lower-alpha 11] 25,710 Banknock, Bonnybridge, Denny, Dennyloanhead, Dunipace, Greenhill, Haggs, Head of Muir, High Bonnybridge, Longcroft Falkirk
29 Elgin 25,040 Elgin Moray
30 Vale of Leven 24,130 Alexandria, Balloch & Haldane, Bonhill, Renton West Dunbartonshire
31 Arbroath 23,500 Arbroath Angus
32 Dumbarton 21,030 Dumbarton, Milton West Dunbartonshire
33 Alloa 20,750 Alloa, Sauchie Clackmannanshire
34 Cowdenbeath 19,330 Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly, Lumphinnans Fife
35 Peterhead 19,060 Peterhead Aberdeenshire
36 St Andrews 18,410 St Andrews Fife
37 Erskine 16,830 Erskine, Inchinnan Renfrewshire
38 Larkhall 16,400 Ashgill, Larkhall South Lanarkshire
39 Penicuik 16,150 Penicuik Midlothian
40 Kilwinning 16,100 Kilwinning North Ayrshire
41 Broxburn 15,970 Broxburn West Lothian
42 Galashiels 15,490 Galashiels, Langlee, Tweedbank Scottish Borders
43 Helensburgh 15,160 Helensburgh, Rhu Argyll and Bute
  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, 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. In other examples, Cleland, Gowkthrapple and Overtown are not included in the wider NRS 'Motherwell & Wishaw' settlement while distinct towns such as Bellshill and Viewpark are included, and Inverkeithing and Rosyth are counted in the Dunfermline settlement but Dalgety Bay is not.
  2. As named, defined and grouped by NRS in Localities list above.
  3. Does not include Carmunnock or Gartloch.
  4. Does not include Kirkliston, Newbridge & Ratho Station, Ratho or South Queensferry.
  5. Does not include Kingswells.
  6. Does not include Glen Village/Hallglen.
  7. Often known collectively as Monklands but not referred to as such by NRS.
  8. Mayfield with Easthouses and Newtongrange
  9. Often known collectively as the Three Towns but not referred to as such by NRS.
  10. Often known collectively as Levenmouth but not referred to as such by NRS.
  11. Denny is the settlement's largest locality but Bonnybridge is the name chosen by NRS.

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Data Tables [Mid-2020 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland], National Records of Scotland, 31 March 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2022
  2. "NRS – Background Information Settlements and Localities" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  3. 1 2 "Department of Constitutional Affairs" . Retrieved 9 September 2009.
  4. "Dunfermline is now officially a city". Dunfermline Press. 19 May 2022. Retrieved 20 May 2022. 'Letters Patent' will now be prepared which will confer each of the awards formally and will be presented to winners later in the year.
  5. "Perth wins Diamond Jubilee contest to be named seventh Scottish city". BBC News. 14 March 2012.