National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Quarter 3 Deaths 15% above average

Quarter 3 Deaths 15% above average

Tuesday, 14 Dec 2021
Demographic Statistics News Release Image

15,145 deaths were registered in Scotland between 1 July and 30 September 2021, according to figures released today by National Records of Scotland.

This was 15.3% higher than the average number of deaths (13,147) for quarter 3 in the five year period of 2015-2019.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) was the underlying cause of 789 deaths during quarter 3.

Today’s figures when compared with the average for 2015-2019 show:

The number of cancer deaths rose by 2.9 per cent to 4,202

The number of deaths from coronary heart disease rose by 10.7 per cent to 1,651

The number of deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease rose by 13.5 per cent to 1,484

Deaths from respiratory diseases fell by 2.7 per cent to 1,306

There were 906 deaths from cerebrovascular disease (an increase of 3.2 per cent)

There were 12,548 births registered in Scotland in quarter 3. This is 9% lower than the quarter 3 average of 13,788 over the five years 2015-2019.

Julie Ramsay, Vital Events Statistician, said:

"This year’s quarter 3 deaths are 15.3% higher than the five year average.

Together with the low number of births, today’s statistics reveal a widening gap between births and deaths.”

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

Marriages in Scotland have almost returned to pre-pandemic numbers. There were 10,540 marriages in quarter 3, only 1% fewer than the quarter 3 average for 2015 - 2019.

There were 335 same-sex marriages, a decrease from the five year average of 384, whilst same-sex civil partnerships increased to 32, compared to an average of 21 for quarter 3.

Civil partnerships were made available to all couples in June this year, and of the 248 civil partnerships registered in the third quarter of 2021, 216 involved mixed-sex couples.


National Records of Scotland (NRS) is a non-ministerial department of the devolved Scottish Administration. It is responsible for producing statistics on Scotland’s population.

The full publication, births, deaths and other vital events – third quarter 2021, includes figures for NHS Boards and local authority areas. Breakdowns of these figures can be found under “Data and Charts”.

Figures are provisional and might be subject to further revision. Figures for 2021 will be finalised when the annual vital events reference tables are published in summer 2022.

Media enquiries should be directed to: 
Donna Green – 07775 027 380
NRS Communications
Email: [email protected]

Further information about the statistics is available from:
NRS Customer Services
Email: [email protected]