Provisional figures for vital events registered in Scotland during the first quarter of 2017 were published today by National Records of Scotland.
The statistics show 13,279 births, 15,711 deaths and 3,578 marriages were registered between January and March.
At 13,279, the number of births registered was 28 (0.2 per cent) fewer than in the same period of 2016 and the lowest quarter one total since 2003. The total number of quarter one births fell to a low of around 12,400 in 2002. It then rose to around 15,100 in 2008 and has been below 14,000 since 2013.
At 15,711, the number of deaths registered was 223 (1.4 per cent) more than in the same period of 2016. Over the past decade the number of deaths in the first quarter fell from 15,820 in 2007 to a recent low of 13,959 in 2014. Quarter 1 of 2015 had an unusually high number of deaths (16,425) and although the 2016 and 2017 figures have decreased from this level, they still represent higher than average (for the decade) first quarter totals at 15,488 and 15,711 respectively.
Compared with the first quarter of 2016, the number of deaths from respiratory system disease fell by 10.4 per cent to 2,090 and deaths from cerebrovascular disease fell by 3.8 per cent to 1,100. Deaths from coronary heart disease fell by 1.5 per cent to 1,786 and there were 4,133 deaths from cancer (an increase of 1.9 per cent). There was an increase of 30.9 per cent in the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease (648) and the number of deaths from dementia rose by 17.9 per cent to 1,229 (although part of this increase will be due to the change in cause of death coding software – refer to the paragraph starting From January 2017 below for more details).
Over the longer term, deaths from coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease have decreased considerably whilst the number of deaths from cancer and respiratory disease has risen slightly. There has been a relatively large increase in the number of deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease with such deaths now accounting for around 10 per cent of all deaths compared to 5 per cent a decade ago.
The provisional figures also show there were 3,578 marriages in total, 66 more than during the first quarter of 2016 (a rise of 1.9 per cent).
There were 144 same-sex marriages, a fall of 11 (7.1 per cent) compared with the same period of 2016. Twenty one (14.6 per cent) of the same sex marriages registered in the first quarter were changes from civil partnerships.
There were 10 civil partnerships (four male and six female), two fewer than during the first quarter of 2016.
The full publication, Births, deaths and other vital events - quarterly figures, including figures for NHS Boards and local authority areas, is available on this website.
From January 2017, NRS has introduced new software for coding the cause of death. The impact on the figures is relatively minor but has led to an increase in deaths coded to dementia and Alzheimer’s and a decrease in deaths coded to respiratory diseases. It should be noted that deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s were rising before the new software was introduced, but the impact of the software change further increases deaths from these causes. More information can be found in the paper ‘The Impact of the Implementation of IRIS Software for ICD-10 Cause of Death Coding on Mortality Statistics in Scotland’ on this website.
Figures are provisional as NRS may receive further information (e.g. from Procurators Fiscal following their investigations into certain deaths) which may lead to the figures being revised. Figures for a specific year are finalised when the annual vital events reference tables are published in August of the following year.