The geography determines the available population of Scotland and consequently, the economy and the type of industry. The dichotomy of Highlands and Lowlands causes two thirds of its population is concentrated in the Lowlands, where they are locked the two main cities: Edinburgh, with 448,624 inhabitants (2001 census) and Glasgow with about 600,000(in 2005) By contrast, the northern has a low human density.
Scotland has a western style open mixed economy which is closely linked with that of the rest of Europe and the wider world. Traditionally, the Scottish economy has been dominated by heavy indrustry underpinned by the shipbulding in Glasgow, coal mining and steel industries.
Currently one of the main engines of the Scottish economy isthe technology industry and electronics. The most of this activity is in the country's industrial belt, from Edinburgh to Dundee, on the north, and to Glasgow, in the west. This activity has given new impetus to the Scottish economy in the 1970s and for several years, was immersed in a deep crisis caused by the collapse of heavy industry sector. This same activity, which includes shipbuilding andsteel business, managed to turn Scotland into one of the engines of Europe during the Industrial Revolution.
There was a time, in which Textile mills, iron, steel and coal mines, and heavy industry were the food of Scotland's economy and important part of England. But the engine driving all was the shipbuilding industry. On the Clyde River and the shipyards of Glasgow were built some of the shipsmost important in the world.
And indeed, many major employers in the country amassed their fortunes thanks to this business until, with the end of World War II, came the slow but relentless decline of the enterprises active in this sector.
Edinburgh is the financial services centre of Scotland and the sixth largest financial centre in Europe in terms of funds under management, behind London,Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich and Amsterdam, with many large finance firms based there, including: Lloyds banking group (owners of the Halifax Bank of Scotland); the Government owned Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life.
As of May 2009 the unenployement rate in Scotland stood at 6.6% slightly lower than the UK average and lower than that of the majority of EU countries.
The most recent governmentfigures (for 2006/7) suggest that Scotland would be in budget surplus to the tune of more than £800m if it received its geographical share of North Sea revenues.
Until the last decade of the twentieth century heavy metallurgy (blast furnaces, steelworks, shipbuilding) settled mainly in the Glasgow region, was the main activity of the secondary sector. Its dismantling resulted inthe 80s and 90s of the last century, was an important source of unemployment, which is partly mitigated by the exploitation of North Sea oil. But even though the industries associated with the extraction of North Sea Oil in the north east of Scotland were an important source of income and employment, the De-industrialisation during the 70s and 80s caused a shift toward services sector andindustries and technology industries to.
Currently, heavy industry (locomotives, machinery diverse) as well as cotton, in another time, crucial in the British industrialization, remains concentrated in the Lowlands, particularly around the estuary of the River Clyde (Glasgow). The linen textile manufacturing is mainly located in Glasgow, while jute's production is located in Dundee.
The decline ofheavy industry has been offset by new technologies (telecommunications, electronics, engineering objects) as well as the chemical industry and light engineering. Many multinationals have established between Glasgow and Edinburgh, making this area a benchmark for European exports.
Furthermore, Scotland has 15% of its land covered by forest. Much of it is used for logging.
Mining and energy...