It is important to consider the many differences between local authorities that contribute to variations in performance. These include population, geography, social and economic factors, and the needs and priorities of local communities. All of these should be taken into account when comparing performance.

Local context

The 2019 estimate showed a reduction from 89,130 to 88,930 overall, and a small increase in working age proportion and younger people.

The population in WD continues to decline, whilst Scotland recorded its highest level, driven by in migration, there is no natural population growth.  WD continues to have net out migration, and more deaths than births.

With advances in medicine helping people live longer and a projected fall in the number of babies being born, there will be more older people in the population than young. This has the potential to impact on all sectors of the economy and economic activity, while at the same time placing a greater demand on social care and health care services.

West Dunbartonshire is an area of multiple deprivation, with higher than average levels of unemployment and poverty; we are working hard to tackle this. We have developed strategic approaches to improve employment and economic growth, improve the lives of children and young people, improve the care of older people, improve housing and infrastructure, and improve wellbeing and protect vulnerable groups.

You can read more about West Dunbartonshire in our most recent Social & Economic Profile, which looks in detail at key areas including: our population, education, regeneration, housing, economic activity, welfare and benefits, child poverty, crime, and the environment.

Family groups

Grouping together councils that share similar characteristics to those set out in the local context above (called family groups) make comparisons more meaningful and our learning more useful.

Some of our services have been comparing themselves against other councils in their family group – a process known as benchmarking. The results will be published on the Local Government Benchmarking Framework website at