‘Metro’ mystery as fastest growing city numbers tumble

by Colin Campbell           

ACCORDING to a new report from a government-backed organisation called the Scottish Cities Alliance, the population of Inverness is now 61,235. Does that figure ring true to you? It certainly doesn’t sound right to me. With the coronavirus currently halting – briefly – a surge in housebuilding which is guzzling up land at a phenomenal rate as the Highland capital bulges outwards in every direction, it seems in fact about 20 years out of date. Which is probably not a bad guess.

In a report in 2014 Highlands and Islands Enterprise stated:

“The Inverness profile uses 2011 Census data and other available data sources to present an up-to-date analysis of its population and labour market.

“The headline findings for Inverness are:  The total population was 67,230 in 2011, an increase of 17.1 per cent from 2001.”

So the population of “the fastest growing city in Scotland” was 67,000 nine years ago and it’s 61,000 now.

Where’s Confused.com when you need it?

This is scarcely a nitpicking quibble over statistics.

The population of a city will have direct influence on levels of funding and allocation of resources. It’s something that the powers-that-be are surely required to get right.

On closer examination the Scottish Cities Alliance offers an explanation that succeeds in making things even more confusing.

It states that the population figure of 61,235 is for “Inverness (metro).”

What’s Inverness (metro)? Where did that phrase or definition come from? In fact, has anyone ever previously heard of it?

For everyone I know Inverness does not have a “metro” – apart from the Tesco store in Tomnahurich Street, and they’re certainly not referring to that. Inverness is Inverness is Inverness. Period.

What areas of the Highland capital have been transplanted into this mysterious Inverness “metro”?

The population of the Inverness is not 61,235 – it is much larger than that. It is important to have an established consensus on what the figure actually is, for the funding and allocation of resources, as I’ve already emphasised.

The figure the Scottish Cities Alliance has produced is flawed, inaccurate, essentially meaningless and senseless.

We don’t expect much of the bureaucrats responsible for providing these basic statistics.

But we do expect them to provide an accurate assessment of the population of “the fastest growing city in Scotland” – not produce a figure which might have been cobbled together as a rough guess from a five-year-old.

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