Aberdeenshire is a predominantly rural area in the north-east of Scotland, traditionally economically-dependent upon the primary sectors of agriculture, forestry and fishing.
Over the past 40 years, the development of the oil and gas industry and associated service sector has changed Aberdeenshire’s economic focus, and contributed to a rapid population growth of 50% since 1975.
However, a recent sharp fall in oil prices indicates that Aberdeenshire faces fresh challenges that could significantly change the area in the years to come.
Aberdeenshire extends to 6,313 sq km (2,437 square miles), representing 8% of Scotland’s overall territory. In 2015 Aberdeenshire’s population was estimated to be 261,900, approximately 5.9% of Scotland’s total population of 5,373,000.
Over the 10 years from 2005-2015 the population increased by 10.3%, the fourth highest increase in Scotland’s 32 local authorities and more than twice the national average of 5.1 %. An estimated 4% of Aberdeenshire’s population are non-UK EU citizens.
Aberdeenshire is Scotland’s foremost fishing area. In 2014 the region accounted for over half (56.4%) of all fish landed into Scotland by value. Together with Aberdeen it provides nearly a third (31%) of Scotland’s regular fisheries employment. Moreover, since 2010, the quantity of fish landings in the North East has increased by 23% and total employment by 5.4%.