Deaths increase by 13 per cent in 1st quarter of 2018

There were 2,060 more deaths and 539 fewer births registered in Scotland between 1 January and 31 March 2018 than in the same period of 2017, according to provisional figures released today by National Records of Scotland.

The publication, ‘Births, deaths and other vital events, 2018 Q1’, shows that at 12,713, the number of births registered was 539 (4.1 per cent) fewer than in the same period of 2017 and the lowest quarter one total since 2002.

At 17,771, the number of deaths registered was 2,060 (13.1 per cent) more than in the same period of 2017. In the first half of the last decade the number of deaths in the first quarter continued the previous downward trend, falling from 15,073 in 2008 to a recent low of 13,959 in 2014. Since then, numbers have been increasing and 2018 has the highest first quarter total since 1986.

Compared with the first quarter of 2017:

  • The number of cancer deaths rose by 1.3 per cent to 4,199;
  • Deaths from respiratory diseases rose by 35.8 per cent (by 753 to 2,855) and within this group there was a large increase in the number of influenza deaths (by 360 per cent from 72 to 331);
  • The number of deaths from coronary heart disease rose by 5.4 per cent to 1,916;
  • The number of deaths from dementia rose by 15.0 per cent to 1,416;
  • There were 1,220 deaths from cerebrovascular disease (an increase of 11.1 per cent);
  • There was an increase of 22.5 per cent in the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease (795).

The provisional figures also show there were 3,462 marriages in total, 116 fewer than during the first quarter of 2017 (a fall of 3.2 per cent). There were 130 same-sex marriages, a fall of 15 (10.3 per cent) compared with the same period of 2017. Twenty-two (16.9 per cent) of the same sex marriages registered in the first quarter were changes from civil partnerships. There were 14 civil partnerships (10 male and 4 female), four more than during the first quarter of 2017.

 Anne Slater, the Acting Registrar General for Scotland, said:

 “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.”

Notes to Editors

  1. National Records of Scotland (NRS) is responsible for producing statistics on Scotland’s population.
  1. The full publication, Births, deaths and other vital events – 1st quarter 2018, includes figures for NHS Boards and local authority areas.
  1. Figures are provisional and might be subject to further revision. Figures for 2018 will be finalised when the annual vital events reference tables are published in June next year.

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Julie Ramsay: 0131 314 4330


Further information about the statistics is available from:

Customer Services

National Records of Scotland

Ladywell House

Ladywell Road

Edinburgh EH12 7TF

Tel: 0131 314 4299


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