National Records of Scotland

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Jack and Olivia are Scotland’s top baby names

Tuesday, 19 Dec 2017
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National Records of Scotland (NRS) reveals most popular names in 2017.

Jack and Olivia were the most popular first forenames for babies whose births were registered in 2017, National Records of Scotland (NRS) announced today. Jack was the most popular boys’ name for a tenth consecutive year; Olivia was the top girls’ name for a second year.

The second most popular name for boys was Oliver, which rose from third in 2016 to second in 2017. Harris (which rose six places to seventh) was the only entrant to the boys' Top Ten (and the fastest climber within the boys’ Top Twenty), while Charlie (down four places to fourteenth) dropped out of the Top Ten. There were three entrants to the boys’ Top Twenty: Thomas (up six places to joint seventeenth), Archie (up two places to nineteenth) and Rory (up five places to twentieth).

Emily remained the second most popular name for girls. Aria (up two places at tenth) was the only entrant to the girls’ Top Ten; Lucy (down two places to joint eleventh) dropped out of it. There were two entrants to the girls’ Top Twenty: Harper (up twelve places to eighteenth) and Hannah (up five places to nineteenth).

Other big climbers within the Top Fifties included:

  • Theo (up eighteen places to joint 27th);
  • Muhammad (up eleven places to 36th);
  • Jude (up twelve places to joint 37th);
  • Poppy (up thirteen places to 30th).

Particularly fast-rising entrants to the Top Fifties included:

  • Freddie (up 26 places to 46th);
  • Sienna (up 36 places to joint 32nd);
  • Willow (up seventeen places to 35th);
  • Mila (up twenty places to 50th).

NRS registered the births of 25,384 boys and 23,935 girls in the period covered by these figures. Parents chose 3,314 different first forenames for boys and 4,221 different first forenames for girls. In total, 2,063 boys and 2,767 girls were given first forenames that were unique. The numbers of different names, and of unique names, were well above the levels of 10, 20 or 40 years ago. For example, the number of boys with unique first forenames was greater this year (2,063 in the period covered by these figures) than in the whole of 2007 (1,797), 1997 (1,126) or 1977 (761).


Among the top first forenames for boys, James was down from second to third. Lewis remained in fourth place. Noah and Logan remained fifth and sixth (respectively), Harris rose six places to seventh, Alexander and Leo remained eighth and ninth (respectively) and Harry fell three places to tenth. Alfie rose four places to eleventh, and Aaron moved up four places to fifteenth.

As for the most popular names for girls, Isla rose one place to third, and Sophie fell one place to fourth (it had been the top name from 2005 to 2013). Jessica rose two places to fifth, Amelia remained sixth, Ava fell two places to seventh, Ella remained eighth, Charlotte rose one place to ninth, and Aria was up two places at tenth. No name climbed more than two places within the girls’ Top Twenty.

The Top Fifty boys’ first names accounted for 39% of all those registered and the Top Fifty girls’ first names accounted for 38% of registrations. Jack was the first name of only 1.8% of boys, and Olivia was the first name of just 2.0% ofgirls.

‘Babies’ First Names 2017’ is accompanied by lists of the Top Hundred first forenames for each sex for Scotland as a whole, and the Top Ten for each sex for each council area.

The full publication Babies' Names 2017 is available on this website.

An Infographic is also available for this publication on this website.


Births, deaths & other vital events, 2017 Q3

Wednesday, 13 Dec 2017
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Provisional figures for vital events registered in Scotland during the third quarter of 2017 were published today by National Records of Scotland.

The statistics show 13,847 births, 13,185 deaths and 10,870 marriages were registered between July and September.

At 13,847, the number of births registered was 411 (2.9 per cent) fewer than in the same period of 2016 and the lowest quarter three total since 2004.

At 13,185, the number of deaths registered was 17 (0.1 per cent) fewer than in the same period of 2016.

Compared with the third quarter of 2016:

  • The number of deaths from coronary heart disease rose by 4.1 per cent to 1,533;
  • Deaths from cerebrovascular disease fell by 6.6 per cent to 900;
  • There were 3,960 deaths from cancer (a decrease of 0.6 per cent);
  • Deaths from respiratory system diseases fell by 8.5 per cent  to 1,293;
  • There was an increase of 6.7 per cent in the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease (491);
  • The number of deaths from dementia rose by 13.6 per cent to 861 (although respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia deaths are affected by the change in cause of death coding software – refer to note 2 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.

National Records of Scotland have today also published updated figures on alcohol deaths using the new National Statistics definition following a consultation exercise carried out by the Office for National Statistics earlier this year.  The age-standardised death rates section of the website has been amended to incorporate the new alcohol deaths definition and two further tables have been added on age-standardised death rates by deprivation quintile.

Full publication, Births, deaths and other vital events - quarterly figures, including figures for NHS Boards and local authority areas.



Variation in life expectancy between areas in Scotland

Thursday, 7 Dec 2017
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Figures published today by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show life expectancy can vary by seven years depending on the council area a baby is born in – and by 10.5 years depending on how deprived an area the baby was born in.

The report looks at how life expectancy varies according to deprivation, council area, health board area and rural or urban areas.

Commenting on the report published today, Chief Executive of National Records of Scotland  and Registrar General for Scotland Tim Ellis said:

“The statistics published today show that every council area of Scotland has seen an increase in life expectancy over the past decade, but there is still a lot of variation between areas. The report shows that deprivation has a strong effect on life expectancy with people who live in more deprived areas expected to live shorter lives than those in less deprived areas.”

Based on statistics covering 2014-2016, the report breaks down further the estimates published at Scotland level on 27 September 2017 which showed that life expectancy is now 77.1 years for men and 81.2 years for women in Scotland.

An infographic summarising the key points of the NRS report and an interactive data visualisation comparing life expectancy at birth between Scottish council areas is available on the NRS website.

The latest statistics covering 2014-2016 show:

Scotland level

  • The average life expectancy at birth across Scotland was 81.2 years for females and 77.1 years for males.
  • Scotland has one of the lowest life expectancies in Western Europe and the lowest of all UK constituent countries.

Council areas

  • The council areas with the highest life expectancy for females were East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire where a baby girl could expect to live for 83.5 years. By contrast, in West Dunbartonshire which had the lowest life expectancy for females, a baby girl would be expected to live for 78.8 years.
  • For males, life expectancy at birth was highest in Orkney Islands where a baby boy could expect to live until he was 80.3 years old. Glasgow City had the lowest life expectancy for males of 73.4 years.
  • All Council areas have seen an increase in life expectancy since 2004-2006. For Scotland as a whole, life expectancy has increased for male by 2.5 years and for females by 1.6 years.

Health boards

  • Life expectancy at birth was highest for females in Highland, Orkney and Western Isles NHS boards (82.7 years) and lowest in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Lanarkshire boards (80.1 years).
  • For males, life expectancy was highest in Orkney NHS board (80.3 years) and lowest in Greater Glasgow and Clyde board (75.3 years).

Life expectancy and deprivation

  • People living in more deprived areas of Scotland have a shorter life expectancy than those living in less deprived areas.
  • For females there was a gap of 7.8 years between those living in the first SIMD quintile (the 20 per cent most deprived areas) and those in the fifth SIMD quintile (the 20 per cent least deprived areas). For males the gap was 10.5 years.

Life expectancy in urban and rural areas

  • Life expectancy at birth was higher in rural areas compared to urban areas for both males and females.
  • For females, life expectancy was highest in remote rural areas (82.8 years) and lowest in large urban areas (80.6 years).
  • For males, life expectancy was highest in accessible rural areas (79.5 years) and lowest in large urban areas (75.9 years).

The full publication Life Expectancy for Administrative Areas within Scotland 2014-2016  can be found on this website.



Web archive launched

Monday, 20 Nov 2017
Photograph of General Register House

A new web archive from National Records of Scotland will preserve key official websites and make them available for future generations.

Official websites contain information which will be of use to members of the public now and historians in future. But as websites change, vital information can be lost.

The new Web Continuity Service from National Records of Scotland (NRS) will help prevent this loss, by archiving and making available ‘snapshots’ of the websites of organisations who already deposit records with NRS - the Scottish Government, Scottish Courts, public inquiries in Scotland, public authorities and some private organisations.

As well as helping the researchers of the future, the new service – offered free of charge – will mean users see fewer broken links on the live websites which have been archived. This will help to maintain long-term access to important online information

Tim Ellis, the Chief Executive of NRS and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:

“In an era of ‘fake news’ where the authenticity of information is scrutinised and challenged, the Web Continuity Service will allow users to access accurate historical information, and make it clear when they are reading archived content.

“This new service allows us to preserve information for the future and keep it available now to the people who need it, supporting open and transparent government.”

The Scottish Parliament are already using the service.  Gordon Hobbs, Information Manager, said: “The web archive is helping us to think differently about our online presence, and how our users can access the information they need, be this current or historic.”

The service is operated by National Records of Scotland working with a commercial supplier, Internet Memory Research with a strong track record in this area. It will capture information in the public domain, regularly “crawling” websites after agreement with their owners to ensure the correct handling of any sensitive information, and intellectual property rights.


There is more information on the service available on this website.

Access the  NRS Web Archive.


Scotland’s Census 2021 Question testing

Wednesday, 15 Nov 2017
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ScotCen Social Research are currently conducting question testing on behalf of the National Records of Scotland (NRS) on a range of topics which will help us plan for the next census. The results will contribute to decisions about which questions should be included in Scotland's Census 2021. Further information on this can be found on the Scotland’s Census website.


Scotland's Population is projected to increase and to age

Thursday, 26 Oct 2017
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The population of Scotland is projected to continue increasing and ageing, according to new figures published today by National Records of Scotland.

The National Population Projections for Scotland are based on the latest population estimates for 2016 and provide an indication of the future size and age structure of Scotland’s population based on a set of assumptions about future fertility, mortality and migration.

Tim Ellis, the Registrar General of Scotland, said:

“The latest population projections show Scotland’s population is projected to continue to increase and to age over the next 25 years.

“The rise in population is driven by projected migration into Scotland both from rest of the UK and from overseas, while the number of deaths is projected to exceed the number of births every year.

“Over the period we also expect to see the number of people of pensionable age increase by 25 per cent, while the number of  people of working age will increase by one per cent and the number of children will decrease by two per cent.”

The population of Scotland is projected to rise from 5.40 million in 2016 to 5.58 million in 2026, and to continue to rise to 5.69 million in 2041 – an increase of 5% over the 25 year period.

All of the projected increase in Scotland’s population over the next 10 years is due to net in-migration to Scotland; 58% of net
in-migration is projected to come from overseas, with 42% from the rest of the UK.

Natural change (the number of births minus the number of deaths) is projected to be negative in each year of the projection. By 2041 it is projected that there will be over ten thousand more deaths than births each year.

The population is also projected to age, with people aged 75 and over projected to be the fastest growing age group in Scotland. The number of people aged 75 and over is projected to increase by 27% over the next ten years and increase by 79% over the next 25 years to 2041.

Between 2016 and 2041, the population of pensionable age is projected to rise from 1.05 million to 1.32 million, an increase of 25%, while the number of children is projected to decrease from 0.92 million to 0.90 million (reduction of 2%) over the same period. This compares to an increase in the working age population from 3.43 million in 2016 to a peak of 3.59 million in 2028 (an increase of 5%). It is then projected to decline to 3.47 million by 2041. Overall there is a 1% projected increase in people of working age over the 25 year period.

The full publication Projected Population of Scotland (2016-based) can be found on this website.


Rogues Gallery Exhibition - Picturing Scotland’s criminal past

Tuesday, 24 Oct 2017
Photo of Rogue Gallery Exhibition Poster

A new exhibition by National Records of Scotland brings you face-to-face with Scotland’s criminal past – from an infamous murderer to con artists, pickpockets and petty thieves.

In partnership with Edinburgh City Archives, Rogues Gallery: Faces of Crime 1870-1917 pairs striking images from mug shot albums with carefully selected extracts from trial records to convey a unique insight into criminal justice in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. 

Documents displayed for the first time take you into the courtrooms of the past to meet a parade of robbers, fraudsters, embezzlers and sheep rustlers, and inside the trial of infamous Edinburgh poisoner Eugène Chantrelle in 1878, reputedly the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s notorious Mr Hyde. 

Remarkable documents also offer a snapshot of the early years of forensic photography, including the footprints that helped to convict serial burglar of stately homes John Aitken Swanston in 1909. 

Tim Ellis, Chief Executive, NRS, said: “Our archivists have created a compelling portrait of Scotland’s developing criminal justice system.  It’s an intriguing sample of the wealth of historical and cultural treasures contained within the archives at National Records of Scotland.  Our partnership with Edinburgh City Archives is a great opportunity to work with a local archive and to highlight its rich holdings”.     

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Europe, Culture and External Affairs, said:  “In the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology, Rogues Gallery throws light on a shadowy side of Scotland’s story, revealing the rarely-told tales of famous and forgotten figures who are part of our nation’s history. 

“I commend NRS and Edinburgh City Archives for their joint effort in delivering this exciting exhibition and I invite everyone to visit our National Records and discover these  unique items, for the first time on display together.”

Henry Sullivan of Edinburgh City Archives said:

“Bringing together court and police records with the National Records of Scotland really lets us tell some great stories in this exhibition. We hope it will provide visitors a sample of what can be found in the city’s national and local archives and inspire them to find out more about Edinburgh’s past, salubrious or otherwise.”

Exhibition is open Monday to Friday 9.30 - 4.30.

Background Information

Rogues Gallery: Faces of Crime 1870-1917
25 October – 1 December
Free Entry
General Register House
2 Princes Street
Media contact: Ross Truslove, Tel. 0131 535 1382


Winter Mortality in Scotland – 2016/17

Tuesday, 17 Oct 2017
Demography news release image

New figures released today by National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that a total of 20,930 deaths were registered across Scotland from December 2016 to March 2017, compared with 20,509 in the previous winter (2015/16). 

The seasonal difference was 2,720 for winter 2016/17, slightly lower than the corresponding figure of 2,850 for winter 2015/16.  

The seasonal increase of 2,720 in winter 2016/17 was smaller than in most of the 65 previous winters, but it was still above the level seen in five of the previous ten winters. NRS statistics show that mortality can fluctuate markedly from winter to winter: occasionally one year will have an unusually large figure, like the 4,060 for winter 2014/15.   

Commenting on these statistics, Tim Ellis, Chief Executive of NRS, said:

"There are always more deaths in the winter in Scotland than in any other season, but the long-term trend since the early 1950s has clearly been downward. However, the five-year moving average (which smoothes out much of the year-to-year fluctuation) has not changed much since the early 2000s.

"There is no single cause of additional deaths in winter. Very few are caused by hypothermia and only a small proportion directly by influenza. The underlying causes of most of the additional deaths include respiratory and circulatory diseases (such as pneumonia, coronary heart disease and stroke), dementia, and Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.”

The full publication Winter Mortality in Scotland 2016/17 can be found on this website.


Life Expectancy for Scotland 2014-16

Wednesday, 27 Sep 2017
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Latest life expectancy statistics for Scotland were published today by National Records of Scotland as part of the National Life Tables, using estimates of the population and the number of deaths.

Tim Ellis, the Registrar General of Scotland, said:

“The statistics published today show life expectancy has steadily improved over the past three decades, increasing by 8.0 years for males and 5.9 years for females, and the gap between male and female life expectancy has also decreased. Most recently (2014-16), a baby girl born in Scotland could expect to live for 81.2 years and a baby boy could expect to live until he was 77.1 years. Whilst it is good news that people in Scotland are living longer, recent trends show the increase in life expectancy has been slowing in Scotland as well as the rest of the UK.”

Life expectancy at birth

  • Life expectancy for those born in 2014-2016 was 77.1 years for males and 81.2 years for females.
  • Over the past 35 years life expectancy in Scotland has increased by 8.0 years for males and 5.9 years for females.
  • Female life expectancy has remained higher than male life expectancy throughout the last 35 years. However, the gap between them has decreased from 6.2 years for people born in 1980-1982 to 4.1 years for people born in 2014-2016
  • The 2014-based population projections for Scotland project that life expectancy will continue to increase, reaching 82.3 years for males and 85.0 years for females by 2039.

Recent changes in life expectancy         

  • Between 2013-2015 and 2014-2016 life expectancy remained virtually unchanged. Life expectancy at birth increased by 0.01 years for females and decreased by 0.02 years for males.
  • There was also very little change between the 2012-2014 and 2013-2015 life expectancy estimates, indicating that life expectancy is stalling in Scotland.

Scotland’s life expectancy compared to the rest of the UK

Life expectancy at birth in Scotland is 2.1 years lower than the UK figure for males (79.2 years) and 1.7 years lower than the UK figure for females (82.9).

The full publication Life Tables for Scotland 2014-2016 including the National life tables can be found on this website.


Number of Scottish Centenarians at near record level

Wednesday, 27 Sep 2017
Demography news release image

Figures published today by the National Records of Scotland estimate that in 2016 there were 910 centenarians living in Scotland, an increase of 57% from the estimate of 580 in 2006.

The male centenarian population more than doubled (from 50 in 2006 to 120 in 2016), while the female population increased by 49% (from 530 in 2006 to 790 in 2016).

There are many more women who live for over 100 years than men, reflecting the longer life expectancy of females. In 2016, there were 790 female centenarians (87% of all centenarians) compared with 120 men aged 100 or over.

The ratio of male to female centenarians has increased to 15 men per 100 women in 2016 compared to 9 men per 100 women in 2006. This indicates that the gap between men and women’s life expectancy has decreased.

Since 2006, the number of centenarians relative to the rest of the population has increased from 1.1 to 1.7 centenarians for every 10,000 people in the total population in 2016.

The number of people aged 90 to 99 increased from 28,430 in 2006 to 40,160 in 2016, an increase of 41%.

The number of men aged 90 to 99 increased from 6,570 to 11,900 between 2006 and 2016, an increase of 81%. The number of females aged 90 to 99 increased from 21,860 to 28,260 during the same period, an increase of 29%.

Centenarians make up a larger proportion of the population at UK level (2.27 per 10,000 population) than in Scotland (1.7 per 10,000 population). Between 2006 and 2016 the percentage increase in the number of centenarians in Scotland (57%) was slightly lower than in the UK as a whole (60%).

The full publication Centenarians in Scotland 2006 to 2016 is found on this website.



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