National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future


Number of registered voters stable

Thursday, 20 Apr 2023
Demography news release image

The number of registered voters in Scotland for UK Parliamentary elections was stable in 2022, according to statistics published today by National Records of Scotland (NRS). 

There were 4,012,700 registered voters last December, down 0.4% on the previous year. 

Eligibility is different for Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections and the number of electors is higher at 4,243,800. This figure also fell slightly by 0.03%.

There were 181,500 foreign nationals registered to vote in Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections. This is up 5.5% on the previous year, and is the highest number ever recorded. This group represents 4.3% of the total electorate. 

Nearly a million people, or 23.1% of the electorate, are registered for postal voting in UK Parliamentary elections. This is a slight decrease of 0.2% on the previous year. 22.5% of the total electorate have opted to vote by post in Scottish Parliamentary and local government elections, an increase of 0.1%.

Sandy Taylor, Head of Electoral Statistics said:

“The number of people registered to vote in UK, Scottish Parliamentary and local elections has remained stable in the last year. 

“Almost a quarter of the electorate is currently registered to vote by post. Our analysis shows registering for postal voting was generally higher in more rural or remote constituencies.” 

The full report “People registered to vote” is available to read online on the NRS website


The corresponding electoral statistics for the whole of the UK is scheduled for publication by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 20 April 2023. That publication, which will include figures for Scotland supplied by NRS, will be available on the ONS website.

Resident EU and other foreign nationals (apart from citizens of the Republic of Ireland and qualifying Commonwealth citizens) do not have the right to vote in UK Parliamentary elections, but can vote in Scottish Parliamentary and Local Government Elections. The electoral franchise for these elections was extended, with effect from 1 April 2020,  from EU citizens to other qualifying foreign nationals resident in Scotland by the Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Act 2020.

The data source used to produce electoral statistics holds limited information about voter age and no information about the sex of registered voters.

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]


New Images for Declaration of Arbroath Anniversary

Thursday, 6 Apr 2023
Picture of the Declaration of Arbroath

New photographs of the Declaration of Arbroath have been published by National Records of Scotland, ahead of the famous document going on display in June 2023.

These never-before-seen photographs are being made available to mark its 703rd anniversary. 

The Declaration will be displayed for the first time in 18 years from 3 June – 2 July  2023 at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The Declaration of Arbroath is a letter to the Pope sent in 1320 from the barons of the Kingdom of Scotland seeking his recognition of Robert the Bruce as the country’s lawful king. 

NRS Chief Executive Janet Egdell said: 

“NRS is proud to help display the Declaration of Arbroath, one of the most prestigious documents in our collections, a record of a key period in Scottish history.

“The Declaration is striking but at 703 years old, it’s fragile and can only be displayed occasionally to ensure its long-term preservation, under the care of our conservation experts.

“I hope that these new images released today bring this key period in Scottish history to life for people and as many as possible take the chance to see the Declaration for themselves from 2 June.”

Dr Alice Blackwell, Senior Curator of Medieval Archaeology and History at National Museums Scotland said:

"We’re delighted to be able to present this rare and fragile part of Scotland’s medieval past in a free exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland this summer. 

“Its evocative sentiments have given the Declaration of Arbroath a special distinction, not just in Scotland but around the world. 

“We are looking forward to inviting visitors to learn more about this fascinating document and to enjoy a rare opportunity to see it first-hand."


Noah overtakes Jack in Baby Names chart

Thursday, 30 Mar 2023
Babies' Names News Release Image

Noah has knocked Jack off the top of the baby name chart according to new figures from National Records of Scotland

Jack had spent 14 consecutive years at number one but the biblical boat builder’s moniker has sailed into the top spot with 373 baby boys given the name in 2022. 

For girls, the top name is Olivia, for the second year in a row. The name has been a long-term favourite holding the top spot in six of the previous seven years. 

NRS Statistician Daniel Burns said:

“NRS is happy to welcome all the new babies of 2022. 

“A relative flood of Noahs in the last four years has saw the name leap from 8th to 1st. 

“There are now so many more names in use, as parents aim for something more unusual, that it takes far fewer babies to share a name for it to be high up in the charts. 

“Back in the 70s when David was the most popular name there were upwards of 1,700 babies a year with the top boys name. Since then fertility has declined, meaning there are fewer births, but with more names in use Noah can claim the top spot with 373 baby boys given the name in 2022.” 

Popular culture is having an impact on the names chosen for babies.

Daniel explains:

“Luca has climbed 20 places to land in 5th place for boys, moving into the top 10 for the first time; possibly given a boost by Luca Bish appearing on Love Island.

“The name Maeve has been used in a couple of different TV shows and has grown in popularity over the past few years. Names seen on Love Island, such as Luca, Millie, Arabella and Kai have all increased since appearing on screen. Other names apparently influenced by celebrities include Lando, Tilly, Matilda and Dua.”

Daniel added :  “The latest figures also reveal  a  rise in names relating to nature , with Violet, Daisy, Ivy, Wren, Dahlia, Primrose, Oakley and River all rising. Oakley and River rose for both boys and girls. 


The full publication Babies’ First Names 2022 including tables and our interactive chart can be viewed online.

Top 10 movers: For boys - Findlay, Alexander and Lewis drop out of the top 10 for boys. James, Theo and Archie are joint ninth place, the lowest position for James ever in the charts which start in 1974. For girls, the names inside the top 10 have all stayed the same but Isla, Freya and Millie have risen in the rankings while Emily, Ella and Ava have dropped.


Excess deaths in February at lowest level for a year

Thursday, 16 Mar 2023
demography news release image

The number of deaths in February was similar to average levels, representing the lowest level of excess deaths for a year, according to new statistics from National Records of Scotland. 

There were 4,925 deaths in February 2023, a fall of 27% from the month before. The number of deaths  were 1% below the five year average, the first time deaths have been below average since February 2022. 

The leading causes of death in February were dementia and Alzheimer’s for females (17% of all deaths) and ischaemic heart disease for males (15%). Death rates in the most deprived areas were 1.7 times those in the least deprived areas. 

Vital Events statistician, Julie Ramsay, said: 

“In this report we are introducing a new measure; excess deaths based on age standardised mortality rates. February’s ASMR was 6% below the five year average. This is the best measure to use to track excess deaths as it is more accurate as it takes into account the growing and ageing population.” 

Respiratory deaths (such as influenza and pneumonia or chronic lower respiratory diseases) are close to average levels again, after the first major increase since the COVID-19 pandemic began. There were 537 deaths in this category in February, 6% below the five year average. In January such deaths were 36% above the average. Covid-19 is deaths are not included in this category. 

Julie Ramsay said: 

“The usual winter peak in deaths from respiratory causes was absent in 2020 and 2021. This winter the peak was back with the highest level of deaths from respiratory illnesses since early 2018.”

Also released today were the weekly figures for deaths including those involving COVID-19. There were 1,284 deaths registered last week (6th to 12th March 2023), which is 55 or 4% above average. There were 62 deaths where COVID-19 was mentioned, which is 22 more than last week.


Excess deaths is a term used to describe the difference between the number of deaths in the current year and the ‘expected’ number. This ‘expected number’ is calculated by taking the average number of deaths over the last 5 years. 

The standard approach is to compare with the average of the 5 years prior to the current year. Due to the impact of Covid-19 on mortality levels in 2020 this standard approach would not give an accurate reflection. Consequently it has been agreed by NRS in Scotland, ONS in England and Wales, and NISRA in Northern Ireland to leave out 2020 from the five year average figures. For 2023, the five year average will use the data from 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022

The report and associated data are available on our website at Monthly mortality analysis, Scotland | National Records of Scotland (

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Susie Rose 
NRS Communications
Tel: 07500 463 452
Email: [email protected]

Further information about the statistics is available from:

NRS Customer Services
Email: [email protected]


Almost three deaths for every two births registered in 2022

Tuesday, 14 Mar 2023
demography news release image

There were almost 16,000 more deaths than births registered in Scotland in 2022, according to new figures released by National Records of Scotland. 

Provisional figures show there were 62,942 deaths but only 46,959 births. 

The latest figures for October to December show there were 16,856 deaths, 9.3% higher than the five-year average for this time of year. 

There were increases in the number of deaths across a range of causes including respiratory diseases which were 8.7% higher at 1,900. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) was the underlying cause of 353 deaths during this quarter. No deaths were registered where the underlying cause was adverse effects of a COVID-19 vaccine.

There were 11,899 births registered in Scotland in this period, which is 4.9% fewer than the quarter four average. 

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

“The gap between deaths and births continues the period of negative natural change, where the number of deaths outnumbers the number of births, which began in 2015. Having fewer births than deaths in a population is referred to as ‘negative natural change’ meaning that without external factors such as migration, the population will fall.”

The number of stillbirths (44) was 4.3% lower than the quarter four average and the number of infant deaths (42) was 3.7% below average.

The report, Births, Deaths and other Vital Events Quarter 4, also shows 6,370 couples married in Scotland, nearly 3% more than the recent average.

There were also 169 civil partnerships, 141 of which were for mixed sex couples. There were 28 same-sex civil partnerships, compared with a five year average of 20.


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 at Births, Deaths and Other Vital Events - Quarterly Figures: Fourth Quarter | National Records of Scotland (

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]


Declaration of Arbroath to go on display

Thursday, 9 Mar 2023
Image showing the declaration of Arbroath

Saturday June 3 to Sunday 2 July 2023

Admission Free

The Declaration of Arbroath will be displayed at the National Museum of Scotland this summer for the first time in 18 years. The display has been organised in partnership between National Museums Scotland and National Records of Scotland, who are custodians of the document. The famous document will be on show from 3 June to 2 July 2023. 

The document has not been on public display for 18 years, when it was last displayed at the Scottish Parliament. The iconic and fragile 700-year-old document, which is cared for and preserved for future generations by National Records of Scotland, can only be displayed occasionally in order to ensure its long-term preservation. 

The Declaration was initially due to be displayed in April 2020 to coincide with its 700th anniversary, but this had to be postponed due to the pandemic. The new summer date has been chosen to give as many people as possible the rare chance to see one of Scotland’s most important historical documents.

The Declaration of Arbroath is a letter dated 6 April 1320, written by the barons and freeholders of Scotland, on behalf of the Kingdom of Scotland, to Pope John XXII asking him to recognise Scotland's independence and acknowledge Robert the Bruce as the country's lawful king. 

The letter also asks the Pontiff to persuade King Edward II of England to end hostilities against the Scots, so that their energy may be better used to secure the frontiers of Christendom. 

The Declaration was probably drafted at a meeting of the King and his council at Newbattle, then written up in the scriptorium of Arbroath Abbey. Written in Latin, it was sealed by eight earls and about forty barons. It was authenticated by seals, as documents at that time were not signed. Only 19 seals now remain.

Alice Blackwell, Senior Curator of Medieval Archaeology and History at National Museums Scotland said,

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to display the Declaration of Arbroath here at the National Museum of Scotland. It is a hugely significant document and a vital piece of Scotland’s history. We look forward to welcoming many visitors to enjoy the rare opportunity of seeing this iconic document close up.”

Culture Secretary, Angus Robertson said: 

“The Declaration of Arbroath is of great historic and cultural interest to Scots and people around the world of Scottish descent.  

“The display of this iconic document will give people from across Scotland and further afield a wonderful opportunity to visit the museum and see this important piece of history for themselves.”  

Laura Mitchell, Deputy Keeper, National Records of Scotland, said:

“The Declaration of Arbroath is a key treasure in our extensive collections and we are proud of the role we play in conserving this significant historical artefact for future generations.

“The display will allow Scots and visitors from further afield to see this famous document for the first time in 18 years.”

The Declaration was written during the long Wars of Independence with England when, despite the Scots’ success at the Battle of Bannockburn, Robert I had not been recognised as king by either Edward II or by the Pope, and had been excommunicated by the latter. At this time, the Pope desired peace between England and Scotland, so both could help in a crusade to the Holy Land. The Declaration sought to influence him by offering the possibility of support from the Scots for his long-desired crusade if they no longer had to fear English invasion.  

After receiving the Declaration, the Pope urged reconciliation between the warring sides and a truce was agreed in 1323.  A peace treaty was signed between England and Scotland in March 1328 and the following year the Pope issued a papal bull permitting the anointing and crowning of a King of Scots.  The peace was short-lived, however, as the Second War of Independence broke out in 1332 and went on for twenty-five years.


Customer survey 2023

Monday, 20 Feb 2023
Picture showing a sign with text: "Quick Survey"

National Records of Scotland has launched a survey to seek customer views on its services and products.

The online survey covers a wide range of public-facing services offered by NRS, from statistics customer services and Extract services to the Historical Search Room and ScotlandsPeople centre and website.

Anyone who accesses our services, either in person or online, can take part. We are also seeking views from customers who uses our products regularly or less frequently.

Completing this survey will help us improve and develop services in the future. So please take the time to fill it in, it only takes ten minutes.

The survey is being carried out in collaboration with the Institute of Customer Service and runs from 20 February to 6 March.


Deaths involving COVID-19 Analysis for January 2023 and for week 6 of 2023

Thursday, 16 Feb 2023
covid news release image

As at 12 February 2023, 16,780 deaths have been registered in Scotland where the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was mentioned on the death certificate, according to statistics published today by National Records of Scotland (NRS).

In the latest week, 35 deaths were registered that mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate, five more than in the previous week. 

Of deaths involving COVID-19 in the latest week, 17 were female and 18 were male. 25 were aged 75 or older, five were aged 65 to 74, and five were under 65. There were eight deaths in Glasgow City and three in Fife. In total, 20 council areas (out of 32) had at least one death involving COVID-19 last week. 31 were in hospitals, 3 were in care homes, and 1 at home or a non-institutional setting.

The number of deaths from all causes registered in Scotland in this week was 1,315, which is 43, or 3%, more than the five year average for this time of year.

Our monthly analysis shows that the age standardised death rate for deaths involving COVID-19 in January 2023 was 59 per 100,000. This is almost unchanged from the rate in December 2022 (60 per 100,000). Throughout the pandemic, the highest rate was 585 deaths per 100,000 people in April 2020. 

Of the 16,746 deaths involving COVID-19 between March 2020 and January 2023, 93% (15,656) had at least one pre-existing condition, with the most common being dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. 

Julie Ramsay, NRS Statistician, said:

“The latest figures show that last week there were 35 deaths where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. This is five more than in the previous week.
“After a sharp rise in week 2 of 2023, deaths involving influenza have fallen for four consecutive weeks. There were 15 deaths where flu was mentioned in week 6, which is five fewer than in the previous week.”

There have been nine deaths in Scotland in which the underlying cause of death was due to the adverse effects of vaccination against COVID-19, and four further deaths where an adverse effect was mentioned on the death certificate. This is no change from the figure reported last month. The latest available statistics show that 4.56 million people in Scotland have received at least one vaccine dose.

The publication Deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland is available on the NRS website.


We update the weekly COVID-19 death information in our data and charts spreadsheet and publish a full report and news release on a monthly basis. 

NRS figures include deaths where ‘suspected’ or ‘probable’ COVID-19 appears on the death certificate. 

Data are provisional and subject to change in future weekly publications. The 2022 data will be finalised in summer 2023.

Today’s report on “Deaths involving Covid-19” will be the last in the current format and this name. From 16 March, we will change the focus of our monthly Covid-19 related publication to focus on general mortality in Scotland. The report will be called “Monthly mortality analysis, Scotland” . 

Key data on COVID-19 deaths will still be included, with additional information on other causes of death and excess deaths. There will be no changes to the content of the weekly statistics but the name will change to “Deaths registered weekly in Scotland”.

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] 


Interim Chief Executive appointed

Wednesday, 15 Feb 2023
Photo of Janet Egdell

Janet Egdell will take up the post of Interim Chief Executive from 20th February.

Janet is currently accountable officer at Registers of Scotland and will bring a wealth of experience to the role.

Interim Chief Executive for National Records of Scotland, Janet Egdell said:

“I am delighted to be joining National Records of Scotland as Interim CEO, the Registrar General for Scotland, and the Keeper of the Records of Scotland.

“It will be really exciting to work with the team in the coming months to deliver important services across NRS.”


Love letters of former PM’s parents go online

Tuesday, 14 Feb 2023
Picture showing a portrait of James Maitland Balfour

The selection of romantic letters of former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour’s parents are being published online for Valentine’s Day by National Records of Scotland.

The correspondence from 1843 between James Maitland Balfour, MP for Haddington, his wife Lady Blanche Cecil and their relatives are among a huge collection of family papers bought for the national archives by NRS last year.

Archivist Veronica Schreuder said:

“History already documents the union of these two immensely influential families but these private letters show us the tender young couple in love, eager that they would get on with each other’s families. We’re putting extracts online today so people can read them for themselves.”

In a letter dated 15 July, exactly one month to the date of their wedding, JM Balfour writes:

“My dearest Lady Blanche, I cannot leave town with no chance of seeing you again for many months without doing that which must either make me the happiest or most wretched of men. O Lady Blanche, I love you deeply fervently and O how happy should I be if I could only hope that that love was returned.”

Lady Blanche accepted his proposal and triggered a flurry of excited letters between family members. There are congratulations from his parents, his brother-in-law and even her nine year old brother. Lady Eleanor, Balfour’s mother, confesses she had “fears and dread of a daughter-in-law” but is now “quite delighted to think my fate is fixed so delightfully”. She also tells her son that his father approved. He quickly forwards the letter onto his fiancée “you will see by [the letter] what a good impression you have made on all of them…I cannot tell you what pleasure it gives me to see that they all like you as much I certainly never have done anything to deserve being so very happy as I now am.”

Her brother, Lord Robert Cecil playfully joked with his sister: ‘you the cool, unprejudiced, and romantic Blanche have condescended to marry your first season; without having teazed a hundred loves with fruitless hopes without having caused any duels or created any animosity between your admirers…’

The couple were married at Lady Blanche’s family home Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. The Duke of Wellington, then leader of the House of Lords, was among the guests and he gave them the use of a property on his estate for their honeymoon. James Balfour was 23 and Lady Blanche 18 years old at the time.

Veronica Schreuder added:

“In some ways their story is a sad one as James Balfour died only 13 years later at the age of 36 from TB but it was also a successful marriage. They had eight children; three daughters and five sons who would all go on to lead influential lives. Their eldest son  Arthur followed in the footsteps of his uncle the Marquess of Salisbury to become Prime Minister in 1902. He would also serve as Foreign Secretary in 1916-1919.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The full story and digitised images of the original letters can be read on our website
  2. Details of the purchase of the Balfour family archive were released last year and are available on the NRS website
  3. Attached are photographs of Lady Blanche and James Maitland Balfour. The images of Lady Blanche must be credited: Reproduced with permission of the Marquess of Salisbury, Hatfield House.
  4. Portrait – Portrait of James Balfour by George Richmond, 1837. NRS, GD433/2/473/11
  5. House – A photograph of Whittingehame House, n.d. NRS, GD433/2/483/1


Susie Rose 07500 463 452



Subscribe to RSS - 2023