National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Fall in births in 3rd quarter of 2023

Fall in births in 3rd quarter of 2023

Tuesday, 12 Dec 2023
demography news release image

The number of births registered in Scotland in the third quarter of this year was down against the five year average for this time of year, according to figures published today by National Records of Scotland.  
There were 11,897 births recorded between 1 July and 30 September compared to 12,862 which is the average for this quarter. 
The information in the Births, deaths and other vital events Quarter 3 report also includes figures for deaths and marriages. The number of deaths is 1.7% up on the five year average at 14,136 while the number of marriages is similar to the recent average. 

Phillipa Haxton, Head of Vital Events Statistics at NRS, said: 

“The falling number of births is part of a long term trend we have seen in Scotland with people having smaller families. 

“While the number of deaths has risen the rate has fallen by 4% against the five year average. This rate takes into account the growing and ageing population and is therefore the best indicator of the direction of the mortality trend.

“There were increases in deaths from cancer, coronary heart disease and respiratory disease but a fall in those from Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”

Among the 10,410 marriages there were 426 between same sex couples, compared with the five year average of 361.Since June 2021 mixed-sex couples have been able to form a civil partnership. Of the 224 civil partnerships registered in the third quarter of 2023, 190 involved mixed-sex couples. There were 34 same-sex civil partnerships, compared with a five-year average of 24.


1.    The National Records of Scotland (NRS) is responsible for producing statistics on Scotland’s population. 

2.    The report Births, Deaths and other Vital Events Quarter 3 2023 is available online here. There is also the option to look at data tables here.

3.    Comparisons are usually made by comparing the current year to the average for the previous five years. For 2023, standard practice would be to compare against the 2018- 2022 average. 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 the 2023 figures to an average including 2020 would not give a true reflection of how the latest quarter’s figures compare to the average. 2023 comparisons have therefore been made against the 5 years 2017-2019 plus 2021-2022.

4.    Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff. General information about population statistics can be accessed in the About our Statistics section of the NRS website. 

Media enquiries should be directed to: name of NRS Comms officer dealing with media queries - [email protected] and the NRS Comms officer’s phone number.

Further information about the statistics is available from:
Statistics Customer Services    
E-mail: [email protected]