The number of deaths in Scotland fell to 53,661 in 2011, the lowest number since records began in 1855, the Registrar General for Scotland announced today. This was 306 (0.6 per cent) fewer than in 2010, and 195 (0.4 per cent) below the previous lowest number (which was 53,856 in 2009).
The preliminary figures also show that two of the country’s three so-called ‘biggest killers’ claimed fewer lives in 2011 than during the previous year. Deaths from coronary heart disease fell by 6.6 per cent to 7,602 and deaths from strokes fell by 3.5 per cent to 4,598. However, there were 97 more deaths from cancer - a 0.6 per cent increase to 15,420. The National Records of Scotland also registered 6,751 deaths caused by diseases of the respiratory system, slightly fewer than in 2010.
The number of births registered in 2011 was 58,592 – 199 (0.3 per cent) fewer than in 2010. 51 per cent of births were to unmarried parents, the highest percentage recorded. There were 29,135 marriages in 2011 – 655 (2.3 per cent) more than in 2010 and the highest figure since 2007.
Commenting on the provisional totals of vital events registered during 2011, Registrar General for Scotland George MacKenzie said:
“There were more births than deaths in Scotland in 2011, 58,000 against 53,000.
This is the sixth year in a row we have recorded a natural increase in the population. However, there was a slight fall in the number of births, a trend we have now seen for three years.
“The preliminary number of divorces reported to us has again fallen slightly, this time to 9,814, though the final figure may be a little higher once we get all the late returns. The decline is not unexpected. We have seen a drop in the number of divorces each year since a peak in 2006 when the Family Law (Scotland) Act reduced separation periods.
“There were increases in the numbers of stillbirths, infant deaths, adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships formed and civil partnerships dissolved.”These are statistics for 2011, the first annual death statistics which the National Records of Scotland has published since upgrading its coding software to take account of a number of updates that the World Health Organisation has made to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). The overall scale of change is small: for Scotland as a whole, it is estimated that about 2% of deaths have been given a cause of death code in a different chapter of ICD-10 from the one that would have applied previously. However, the scale varies between causes of death: it represents a larger percentage for some and has very little or no effect on others. Further details are available via the Death Certificates and Coding the Causes of Death section on this website.