National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Registered deaths increase

Registered deaths increase

Wednesday, 10 Jun 2020
Demography news release image

11,023 births and 15,932 deaths were registered in Scotland between 1 January and 31 March 2020, according to provisional figures released today by National Records of Scotland (NRS).

This is the lowest number of births registered in quarter one(Q1) since civil registration began in 1855. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in mid-March most registration offices closed and registration of births was postponed. Consequently,  the number of registrations does not reflect the actual number of births in quarter one.

There were 145 deaths registered where COVID-19 was the underlying cause, during Q1 2020.  The first coronavirus death was registered in mid March.

Pete Whitehouse, Director of Statistical Services, said:

“The number of births registered in the first quarter was the lowest since records began and continues the downward trend we have seen since 2008. However, this is partly due to the closure of registration offices and suspension of birth and marriage registrations in March.

“The age-standardised mortality rate, which adjusts for Scotland’s ageing population, has increased by 0.4% over the last year.”

The number of deaths registered was 4.1% higher than in Q1 of 2019 but have fallen by 1.4% compared to the Q1  average for the previous five years.

The age-standardised mortality rate increased by 0.4 per cent in the year to 2020 quarter 1. This takes into account the growing and ageing population and is therefore the best indicator of the direction of the mortality trend.

Compared with the Q1 average over the previous five years, 2015-2019:

  • The number of cancer deaths rose by 1.5 per cent to 4,169;
  • Deaths from respiratory diseases fell by 22.1 per cent to 1,872;
  • The number of deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease rose by 1.9 per cent to 1,857;
  • The number of deaths from coronary heart disease fell by 6.5 per cent to 1,750;
  • There were 1,064 deaths from cerebrovascular disease (a decrease of 7.2 per cent).

The provisional figures also show there were 3,024 marriages in total. This is 14.3% lower than the average number of first quarter marriages for the previous five years, and the lowest recorded quarter one marriage figure, but this will be partly due to the mid-March closure of registration offices.

There were 120 same-sex marriages, 9 fewer than in 2019 quarter one. Of the same sex marriages registered in the first quarter, 7 were changes from civil partnerships.

There were 22 civil partnerships,12 male and 10 female, eight more than in the first quarter of 2019.

The publication Births, Deaths and other Vital Events - Quarterly Figures and an infographic summary is available on this website.