They bopped along to The Beatles, survived the counter-culture revolution and enjoyed a post-war leap in living standards - and now they are flocking to Argyll and Bute.

New research shows Scotland’s rugged west coast has become its retirement capital, with baby boomers making up nearly three in ten people. 

A total of 29 per cent of Argyll and Bute’s population were born between 1946 and 1964, the highest proportion of anywhere in Scotland. 

This year marks the point at which the youngest members of this generation will hit 55, meaning many will start to access their private pension pots for the first time. 

Steven Cameron, pension director at Aegon, which released the latest figures, said more than one in five of the UK’s population are classed as baby boomers. 

He said: “This year marks a significant milestone as it means all baby boomers will be able to access their pension and those with defined contribution pensions will increasingly be using newfound flexibility to transition gradually into retirement. 

“With Baby Boomers controlling much of the nation’s wealth, this trend towards retirement will have significant implications for society and the economy as people start spending savings built up over decades.”

Argyll and Bute’s ageing population is a source of concern among some council officials, and has been identified as a problem when it comes to recruiting staff with the necessary skills.

Professor Elspeth Graham, from the Centre for Population Change, said the area has been consistently losing people in the 15 to 19-year-old age group since at least 2001. 

This trend will contribute to the higher proportion of older people, she said.
However, the bigger picture is more complicated, with the over 70s also moving away - leaving those between the ages of 55 and 59 as among the fastest-growing groups.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s wider economy suffers from a rapidly ageing population and a declining fertility rate. 

Ms Graham added: “I think Scotland is the only part of the UK where migration is so crucially important to keeping the proportion of working age people to others reasonably balanced.”

Figures released by Aegon, and compiled using official statistics, show 23.2% of Scotland’s population are baby boomers. 

This is higher than the UK average of 21.4%, and takes in 1,270,248 people.
Argyll and Bute had the highest proportion, followed by Dumfries and Galloway at 28.5% and the Scottish Borders at 28.4%. 

Edinburgh is the local authority with the lowest proportion of baby boomers in Scotland, with just 18.5% of its population part of this generation.

A spokeswoman for Argyll and Bute Council insisted the area “brings together much of what is best about Scotland and we aim to make this a place that people choose to live, work and invest”. 

She added: “Baby boomers play a valued role in our economy and community life and are most welcome.

“Moving forward, Argyll and Bute’s success is built on a growing population and this is something the council and its partners are very much focused on. We recognise that we, like many parts of Scotland, have an ageing population. 

“However, by working in partnership with both the Scottish and UK Governments, and a range of key private, public and third sector stakeholders, we are developing a Rural Growth Deal, essential to our population growth needs.“ 

It comes after SNP MSP Kenny Gibson insisted Scots should be encouraged to have more children in a bid to boost the population. 

Meanwhile, The Herald told on Saturday how Scotland’s third largest council area faces an exodus of young people after more than half of those questioned said they planned to leave the region.

A survey of 10,000 under-25s in Dumfries and Galloway found 55 per cent said they intended to leave on finishing school or in the future.