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News Release

Births Increase for the Sixth Consecutive Year

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This is a corrected version of the news release that was published on 12 March 2009. The information about divorces in the original version of the news release was wrong: it has now been corrected. A copy of the original version of this news release is available, on request, from GROS Customer Services.

The correction was announced in a separate news release, More Divorces In 2008 Than Previously Thought, which was published on 16 April 2009. 

More than 60,000 births were registered in 2008 - the highest number in Scotland since 1995 - the Registrar General announced today.

New figures also show the number of marriages in Scotland dropped from 29,866 in 2007 to 28,903, the lowest level since Victorian times.

Commenting on his publication of provisional figures for births, deaths and marriages registered during 2008, Registrar General for Scotland Duncan Macniven said:

“There were 2,260 more births in 2008 than in 2007. The 60,041 total for the year was the highest since 1995. This is the sixth annual increase in a row. 

“The proportion of births to unmarried parents has been rising steadily for several years and in 2008 topped 50 per cent for the first time in a whole year. The proportion varies greatly across the country and in some areas has been above 50 per cent for several years.

“We also saw the number of marriages drop to 28,903, their lowest level since Victorian times. The number of divorces declined by about 10 per cent, to 11,538 in 2008. A fall was expected, because the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006, which came into effect in May 2006, reduced separation periods before divorce, causing an increase in divorces in 2006 followed by reductions in 2007 and 2008. The average of these three years is 12,442, which is around 13 per cent higher than the level in the three years before the law was changed (2003 to 2005), for which there was an average of 11,032 per year.

“Cancer, which accounted for over a quarter of deaths, coronary heart disease, respiratory system diseases and strokes remain the biggest causes of death. The number of deaths from cancer fell slightly and coronary heart disease killed 532 fewer people (over 5 per cent down on 2007). On the other hand, deaths from respiratory diseases and strokes rose slightly (by a total of 116).”

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Page last updated: 10 March 2010

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