National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Most deprived death rates twice as high

Most deprived death rates twice as high

Tuesday, 31 Oct 2023
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Death rates are almost twice as high in the most deprived areas of Scotland compared to the least deprived, according to a new report from National Records of Scotland.

Scotland’s Population report for 2022 also finds the gap is much wider for some causes, including drug misuse deaths.

Julie Ramsay, Head of Demographic Statistics at National Records of Scotland, said: 

“2022 saw the largest year-on-year decrease in drug misuse deaths on record but it was still 3.7 times as high as it was in 2000. 

“People in the most deprived areas were almost 16 times as likely to die from drug misuse as those in the least deprived.” 

Today’s report considers long term life expectancy trends. In the last 40 years, overall life expectancy has improved and people are living longer. However, in the last 10 years improvements have stalled and more recently have started to reverse. 

The recent fall in life expectancy was mainly due to COVID-19. Over the last decade the high level of drug-related deaths, the increase in deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s and a slow down in the decrease in coronary heart disease deaths contribute to the stall in life expectancy improvements.

The report also shows that there are now more people aged 65 and over than people under 15. This trend is mainly driven by the post-war baby boom generation getting older. But also, by people living longer and fertility in Scotland falling. Fertility is now at the lowest recorded level and is one of the lowest in Europe. These factors all contribute to Scotland’s ageing population. 

Scotland’s Population 2022 is available to read online at 


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

Scotland’s Population is available to read online and includes interactive charts and links to more sources of data and analysis. 

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:

Susie Rose via  [email protected] or by mobile at 07500 463 452

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