COVID-19 related deaths: FOI release

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

Information requested

A breakdown by age of overall deaths in Scotland from COVID, to establish the demographics of those dying because of the virus? I would like to learn what percentage relates to those under 50, those older than 50 but not older than 70, those between 70 and 80, and those older than 80 as a proportion of the total.

Secondly, could you provide data on Scottish COVID deaths that involve comorbidity, and where COVID may have ended life but was not the primary force in making the individual vulnerable to its effects?


As at the 15th of November, there have been a total of 5,135 deaths registered in Scotland where the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was mentioned on the death certificate. Of these deaths, COVID-19 was the underlying cause in 4,720 cases. This means that there have been 415 deaths where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, but was not the underlying cause.

Of the 4,743 deaths involving COVID-19 between March and October 2020, 92% (4,367) had at least one pre-existing condition. More information is available in the latest detailed National Records of Scotland publication at:

Pre-existing conditions are defined as a health condition mentioned on the death certificate which either came before COVID-19 or was an independent contributory factor in the death. Where only COVID-19 was recorded on the death certificate, or only COVID-19 and subsequent conditions caused by COVID-19 were recorded, these deaths are referred to as having no pre-existing conditions.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. The reasons why we don't have the information are explained below.

National Records of Scotland publish an age breakdown of deaths involving coronavirus. However their publication doesn't include the exact breakdown you require. Their publication is available at:

It includes the following age breakdown as at 15th November:

  • Under 1 year, 0 deaths involving coronavirus
  • 01-14, 0 deaths involving coronavirus
  • 15-44, 34 deaths involving coronavirus (1% of the total of 5,135)
  • 45-64, 447 deaths involving coronavirus (9% of the total of 5,135)
  • 65-74, 769 deaths involving coronavirus (15% of the total of 5,135)
  • 75-84, 1,751 deaths involving coronavirus (34% of the total of 5,135)
  • 85+, 2,134 deaths involving coronavirus (42% of the total of 5,135)

I hope you find this helpful. You may wish to contact National Records of Scotland to request the exact age breakdown you are interested in. Their email address is:

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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