Deaths in Scotland 52 weeks prior to 12 July 2020: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

In the last 52 weeks:

1 in every 87 of Scotland's population died, but only

1 in 89 of Wales

1 in 102 of England

1 in 113 of N Ireland

Is there a 'Scottish Gov' version' of the above statistics that might make them look less horrific?

What actions are intended to be put in place to address this issue?

What is the main reasons for such a far higher death rate in Scotland?


There is no single reason why Scotland has a higher mortality rate over the last 52 weeks. There are a range of publications available on mortality and life expectancy which I have provided links to below.
To provide one example, statistics published by the Office for National Statistics in February 2020 on avoidable mortality show that Scotland’s 2018 avoidable mortality rate was statistically significantly higher than the rates for other UK constituent countries. The link is here:

There are seven broad measures of avoidable mortality as follows: neoplasms, diseases of the circulatory system, injuries, respiratory disease, alcohol and drug-related, infections and other. Scotland had a statistically significantly higher avoidable mortality rate for three out of the seven broad causes , neoplasms (cancers), alcohol and drugs, and diseases of the circulatory system. Wales has a statistically significantly higher avoidable mortality rate for diseases of the respiratory system. 

Whilst there have been improvements over the longer-term in areas of Scotland's population health such as reductions in the percentage of adults who smoke, reductions in the percentage of children diagnosed with asthma and reductions in the mortality rate for cancers, heart disease and respiratory conditions, long-standing health inequalities still persist and these are having a negative impact on Scotland's life expectancy and mortality rates.

The actions the Scottish Government is taking reflect not just the need to improve the health of the population, but also the need to reduce the prevalence of the underlying causes such as deprivation and poverty. More information on the action being taken is available on the Health and Social Care policy pages of the Scottish Government here:

More information on the health of Scotland's population can be found on the Scottish Health Survey pages here:


National Records of Scotland also publish information on life expectancy here:

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