National Records of Scotland

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Increase in deaths in third quarter of 2022

Increase in deaths in third quarter of 2022

Tuesday, 13 Dec 2022
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The number of people who died in quarter 3 of this year was just over 10% higher than the average for the third quarter, according to a new report from National Records of Scotland. 

There were 14,925 deaths between 1 July and 30 September 2022. Compared to the quarter 3 average, the number of deaths from cancer rose by 1.5% to 4,091, and coronary heart disease rose by 8.2% to 1,643. The number of deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease increased by 3.6% to 1,414, and deaths from respiratory diseases increased by 3.1% to 1,350. There were 890 deaths from cerebrovascular disease, an increase of 1.9%.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) was the underlying cause of 397 deaths during quarter 3,  and there were no deaths where the underlying cause was adverse effects of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The number of stillbirths (48) was down by 8.4% on the quarter 3 average and the number of infant deaths (34) fell by 21.3%.

Julie Ramsay, Vital Events Statistician at National Records of Scotland, said: 

“In quarter 3 we have seen an increase of just over 10% in the number of deaths compared with the average for this time of year. There doesn’t appear to be a single factor behind this increase and analysis of the causes of death show an increase across a wide range of illnesses and other causes.

“The report also shows 10,658 couples married in Scotland, nearly 2% more than in this period last year.”

Meanwhile there were 11,692 births, down more than 12% on the five year average for July to September. This continues the period of negative natural change, where the number of deaths outnumbers the number of births, which began in quarter one of 2015. 

There were also 185 civil partnerships, 156 of which were for mixed sex couples who have been able to choose this option since June last year. There were 29 same-sex civil partnerships, an increase of 6 on the five year average.


Comparisons are usually made by comparing the current year to the average of the previous five years.  For 2022, standard practice would be to compare against the 2017-2021 average.  However, as the 2020 figures were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – marriages were much lower than usual, deaths were higher, and registration of births was delayed – comparing 2022 figure to the 2017-2021 average would not give a true reflection of how the latest quarter’s figures compare to the average.  Comparisons have therefore been made against the average of the five years 2016-2019 plus 2021.

The report and associated data are available on our website.

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Donna Green
NRS Communications
Tel: 07775-027-380
Email: [email protected] 

Further information about the statistics is available from:

NRS Customer Services
Email: [email protected]