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13/06/13 09:40

Births, deaths and other vital events - first quarter 2013

Provisional figures for births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships registered during the first quarter of 2013 are published today by the National Records of Scotland.

The statistics show that 15,090 deaths were registered in Scotland between 1 January and 31 March 2013 – 870 (6.1 per cent) more than in the same period of 2012. This follows five successive decreases in the first quarter total, from 15,820 in 2007 to 14,220 in 2012.

The provisional figures also show that:

• 13,863 births were registered in the first quarter of the year – 909 (6.2 per cent) fewer than in the same period of 2012.

• The number of marriages increased by 0.1 per cent to 3,258, which was 3 more than during the first quarter of 2012.

• There were 63 civil partnerships (29 male and 34 female), 20 fewer than during the first quarter of 2012.

• Deaths from cancer fell by 1.2 per cent to 3,853, deaths from coronary heart disease fell by 0.8 per cent to 1,934, and there were 1,250 deaths from stroke (a rise of 7.6 per cent).

Tim Ellis, the Chief Executive of the National Records of Scotland, said:

“Today’s statistics show a fall in the number of births registered, with fewer than in the first quarter of each of the years from 2007 to 2011, inclusive. The number of births had been tending to decline gradually since 2008.

“The number of deaths rose to the highest quarterly total since the first quarter of 2007. The number of deaths had been generally falling until 2011. Each of the last four quarters have had more deaths than in the same quarter of the previous year."

Notes to editors

The full publication, including figures for NHS Boards and local authority areas, is available from the National Records of Scotland website via:

Although deaths rose in the four most recent quarters (compared with the corresponding quarters of the previous year), they are not high in historical terms.

• The figure of 15,090 for the first quarter of 2013 was one of the lowest recorded for the first quarter. For example, it is below the level of the 30 years prior to 2006, when the number of deaths in the first quarter of each year was tending to decline, with fluctuations from year to year, from over 19,000 in the mid 1970s to about 15,600 in 2005.

• Similarly, the figures for the second, third and fourth quarters of 2012 are below the level of the 25 years prior to 1999.

The number of deaths in the first quarter of 2012 (14,220) was probably the lowest number recorded for the first quarter since registration began in 1855. However, we cannot be absolutely certain because quarterly statistics are available only from 1901. There has not been a lower Q1 figure recorded during the period 1901-2011. The next lowest figures are 14,535 in Q1 2011, 14,690 in Q1 2010, 14,830 in Q1 2009 and 14,876 in Q1 2006.

From the mid-1940s to the mid-1990s, there tended to be between 60,000 and 65,000 deaths per year, and larger numbers before then - far more than in recent years, when the annual totals have been below 55,000. The number of deaths registered in 2011 (53,661) was the lowest annual total since records began, and the total number of deaths in the latest period of four quarters (i.e. from 2012 Q2 to 2013 Q1, inclusive) is 55,807: 4.0% higher.