Because the numbers of births and deaths may fluctuate markedly from week to week, or from month to month, there is little point in commenting on these figures, which are provided solely for the use of people who have an interest in such details. The main points on the provisional figures for each quarter are set out in the news releases which announce the publication of each edition of Births, Deaths and Other Vital Events (formerly Births, Marriages and Deaths). More detailed commentary on the final Vital Events statistics for calendar years as a whole (including some comparisons of the figures for different years, for parts of Scotland and for some other countries) can be found in the following areas of our website:
These figures are released each quarter. National Records of Scotland (NRS) collects the underlying data on a daily basis, as and when each event is registered. The statistics for the latest quarter are all new; some of the figures for earlier quarters may have been revised slightly.
Information about (e.g.) the sources, methods, definitions and reliability of these statistics is available from the NRS website's pages of general background information on Vital Events statistics, background information on points which are specific to statistics on births, and background information on points which are specific to statistics about deaths.
These figures are directly comparable with those for other parts of the United Kingdom: there are no significant differences across the UK in how Vital Events data are collected and processed.
Some of the figures given here are provisional because there may be some slight revisions to the overall totals when the final statistics for the calendar year as a whole are published in the following summer.
Statistics of deaths (for the calendar year as a whole) are used in some Scottish Government targets, such as reductions in the numbers of suicides and in the age-standardised death rates, of people under 75, from ischaemic (coronary) heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (stroke) and cancer: Scottish Government reports on progress towards these targets. The numbers of births and deaths are used to update estimates of life expectancy and the size of the population, for which there are also government targets. More generally, Vital Events statistical data are used for research into, and to develop and monitor policies on, a wide range of topics, including: fertility; stillbirths and infant deaths; alcohol- and drug- related deaths; suicides; deaths from healthcare associated infections; the effectiveness of cancer screening programmes; cancer survival rates; hospital standardised mortality rates; and the arrangements for certifying deaths.
Please contact our Statistics Customer Services if you need any further information.
If you have comments or suggestions that would help us improve our outputs or our standards of service contact:
Kirsty MacLachlan, Senior Statistician, National Records of Scotland,
Room 1/2/3, Ladywell House, Ladywell Road, Edinburgh. EH12 7TF.
Telephone: (0131) 314 4242