National Records of Scotland

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Mortality rate in May similar to average

Mortality rate in May similar to average

Thursday, 29 Jun 2023
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The mortality rate for May 2023 was similar to the five year average for this time of year despite the number of deaths being 5% above average, according to provisional data from the National Records of Scotland. 

The age-standardised mortality rate (ASMR) was 1,053 deaths per hundred thousand people, 1% below the average although this difference is not considered statistically significant. The ASMR measure takes into account the size and age-structure of the population. 

The number of deaths was 4,990 which was 5% higher than the average for the month of May over the last five years. This measure does not take into account how the population has grown larger and older over the years.

Vital Events Statistician with NRS, Daniel Burns, said: 

“Mortality was close to average levels in May, after being above average in March and April. The rate of mortality has generally been above average in the past twelve months.”

“Our data shows that ischaemic heart disease was the most common cause of death in May, accounting for 11% of all deaths. It was the most common cause of death for men, although for women the most common cause was Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia”.

The full report Monthly Mortality Analysis, Scotland, May 2023 can be found on the NRS website.

These figures are provisional and are subject to change.


The Monthly Mortality report provides headline figures every month, with much more information available in our downloadable datasets. These datasets all have interactive charts built in, to aid users in exploring the latest trends.

The data in this report is based on the date a death occurred - other analysis can be based on the date a death was registered.

The five year average does not include 2020 due to the unusual pattern of deaths in the first year of the pandemic. An explanation for this methodology agreed with statistics bodies across the UK is 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]