National Records of Scotland

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Quarter three deaths increase

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Quarter three deaths increase

Wednesday, 11 Dec 2019
Demography News Release Image

There were 13,155 births and 13,585 deaths registered in Scotland between 1 July and 30 September 2019, according to provisional figures released today by National Records of Scotland. Compared to the quarter three average for the previous five years, births have fallen by 7.0 per cent and deaths have risen by 4.4 per cent.

The publication, ‘Births, deaths and other vital events, third quarter 2019’, shows that  at 13,155, the number of births was the second lowest quarter three total since civil registration began in 1855 (only 2018 was lower).

The total number of quarter three births had fallen to a previous low of 13,166 in 2001. It then rose to 15,520 in 2008 before falling again in more recent years to a low of 13,078 in 2018. Expressed as a rate, there were 9.6 births per 1,000 population.

There is no single reason for the downward trend in the number of births, but possible causes may include the postponement of childbearing until later in life; and economic uncertainty influencing decisions around childbearing, as the beginning of the recent fall coincided with the financial crash a decade ago.

At 13,585, the number of deaths registered was the highest quarter three total since 1998 (13,812). The 2019 quarter three deaths figure is 11.1 per cent higher than the 2013 quarter three figure (12,224), which was the lowest number of deaths ever recorded in the third quarter. Expressed as a rate, there were 9.9 deaths per 1,000 population.

The age-standardised mortality rate for the four-quarter period ending in 2019 quarter 3 was 1.3 per cent higher than the previous four-quarter period. This rate takes into account the growing and ageing population and is therefore the best indicator of the direction of the mortality trend.   

Compared with the third quarter average over the previous five years, 2014-2018:

  • The number of cancer deaths rose by 5.0 per cent to 4,157;
  • The number of deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease rose by 18.2 per cent to 1,473;
  • The number of deaths from coronary heart disease fell by 3.6 per cent to 1,462;
  • Deaths from respiratory diseases fell by 11.7 per cent to 1,222;
  • There were 843 deaths from cerebrovascular disease (a decrease of 7.0 per cent).

The provisional figures also show there were 9,512 marriages in total. This is 13.1 per cent  lower than the average number of third quarter marriages for the previous five years,  and the lowest quarter three marriage figure since 1932.

There were 352 same-sex marriages, 20 fewer than in 2018 quarter three. Of the same sex marriages registered in the third quarter, 15 (4.3 per cent) were changes from civil partnerships. 

There were 22 civil partnerships (10 male and 12 female), ten more than in the third quarter of 2018.

Paul Lowe, the Registrar General for Scotland, said:

“The number of deaths was 4.4 per cent higher than the five year average for this time of year, and represented the highest quarter three deaths total in 21 years.

“The number of births in Scotland rose very slightly compared with the third quarter of last year, but was still the second lowest level of quarter three births since civil registration began in 1855 and was down 7.0 per cent on the five year average.”