National Records of Scotland

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Deaths up 7% in second quarter of 2023

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Deaths up 7% in second quarter of 2023

Tuesday, 12 Sep 2023
demography news release

The number of deaths registered in Scotland in the second quarter of 2023 was up 7% on the average for this time of year, according to new statistics from National Records of Scotland. 

Analysis on the 14,987 deaths shows the death rate was 1% higher than the average for April to June. This takes into consideration the population has been growing and getting older over time. 

The Quarter 2 Vital Events report also notes 11,061 births were registered, 9.1% lower than the average for the quarter in recent years. 

There were 7,628 marriages which is half a percent lower than the recent average. 

Daniel Burns, Vital Events Statistician at National Records of Scotland, said: 

“This quarter saw an increase in deaths from a range of causes including cancer, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and respiratory disease. 

“While the number of deaths was up by 7% this doesn’t take into account the changing size and age profile of the population so the mortality rate is the more accurate measure to use.”

These figures are provisional and subject to change. The report and the associated data is available on the NRS website


Comparisons are usually made by comparing the current year to the average of the previous five years.  For 2023, standard practice would be to compare against the 2018-2022 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 2023 figure to the 2018-2022 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 2017-2019 plus 2021-2022.

Since 2015 Q1 Scotland has been in a period of negative natural change (more deaths than births). For the latest four quarter period (2022 Q3 to 2023 Q2) there were 46,304 births and 65,290 deaths, a shortfall of 18,986 births compared to deaths.

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]