National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Leading causes of death in Scotland

Leading causes of death in Scotland

The leading causes of death in 2018 were:

  1. Ischaemic heart disease: 6,615 (11.3%)
  2. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: 6,484 (11.1%)
  3. Lung cancer: 3,980 (6.8%)
  4. Cerebrovascular disease (including stroke): 3,831 (6.5%)
  5. Chronic lower respiratory diseases (eg bronchitis and emphysema): 3,469 (5.9%)

This analysis is based on a list of causes developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). There are around 60 categories in total and cancers are grouped separately according to the type of cancer, for example lung, breast and prostate cancers are all counted as separate causes. If all cancers were grouped together, cancer would be the leading cause of death.

This is from Section 6: Deaths - Causes of the Vital Events Reference Tables 2018. They contain more detailed information on Causes of Death, Adoptions, Births, Still Births, Deaths and Marriages. These will be updated every June.

Further statistics on deaths

Deaths from various causes, such as alcohol, drugs and suicides: Vital Events - Deaths
Trends in mortality: Age-standardised Death Rates
How causes of death are recorded: Death Certificates and Coding the Causes of Death

Other Statistics

Life expectancy in Scotland
Births in Scotland
All statistics that we produce

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