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Births, deaths & other vital events, 2017 Q4

Published: 14 Mar 2018 09:56
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Provisional figures for vital events registered in Scotland during the fourth quarter of 2017 were published today by National Records of Scotland and show that 12,821 births, 15,198 deaths and 5,975 marriages were registered between October and December.

At 12,821, the number of births registered was 172 (1.3 per cent) fewer than in the same period of 2016 and the lowest quarter four total since 2000.

At 15,198, the number of deaths registered was 626 (4.3 per cent) greater than in the same period of 2016 and the highest quarter four total since 2003.

Compared with the fourth quarter of 2016:

  • the number of deaths from coronary heart disease rose by 1.3 per cent to 1,754;
  • Deaths from cerebrovascular disease fell by 5.0 per cent to 1,018;
  • There were 4,242 deaths from cancer (an increase of 5.9 per cent);
  • Deaths from respiratory system diseases fell by 7.2 per cent to 1,808;
  • There was an increase of 15.8 per cent in the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease (673);
  • The number of deaths from dementia rose by 12.3 per cent to 1,131 (although respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia deaths are affected by the change in cause of death coding software – refer to note 2 below for more details.

Over the longer term, deaths from coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease have decreased considerably whilst the number of deaths from cancer and respiratory disease has risen slightly. There has been a relatively large increase in the number of deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease with such deaths now accounting for more than 10 per cent of all deaths compared to 5 per cent a decade ago.At 5,975, the number of marriages registered was 391 (6.1 per cent) fewer than in the fourth quarter of 2016. There were 228 same-sex marriages, a rise of 20 (9.6 per cent) compared with the same period of 2016. Thirty-one (13.6 per cent) of the same sex marriages registered in the fourth quarter were changes from civil partnerships. There were 23 civil partnerships (14 male and 9 female), six more than during the fourth quarter of 2016.


  1. Full publication, Births, deaths and other vital events - quarterly figures, including figures for NHS Boards and local authority areas.
  1. From January 2017, NRS has introduced new software for coding the cause of death. The impact on the figures is relatively minor but has led to an increase in deaths coded to dementia and Alzheimer’s and a decrease in deaths coded to respiratory diseases. It should be noted that deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s were rising before the new software was introduced, but the impact of the software change further increases deaths from these causes.   More information can be found in the paper ‘The Impact of the Implementation of IRIS Software for ICD-10 Cause of Death Coding on Mortality Statistics in Scotland’ on the NRS website.
  1. Figures are provisional and might be subject to further revision. Figures for 2017 will be finalised when the annual vital events reference tables are published in June of this year.