National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

2017 Improvements to Vital Events Statistics

2017 Improvements to Vital Events Statistics

2017 improvements to the statistical information available, on this website, about births, stillbirths, adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths

This note describes the main improvements, made in 2017, to the statistical information about ‘Vital Events’ (this is births, stillbirths, adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths) which is available on this website (and also on the ‘’ website). It does not mention a number of ‘minor’ improvements.

Age-standardised death rates (published 2 August 2017)

  • Tables 1 and 2 were expanded to provide figures for Dementia and for Alzheimer’s Disease;

Avoidable mortality (published 2 August 2017)

A new web section, this includes:

  • comments on the main points from the figures;
  • eight tables, giving the numbers of ‘avoidable’, ‘preventable’ and/or ‘amenable’ deaths broken down (e.g.) age-group, sex, cause of death, NHS Board area and council area
  • notes on the definition of the statistics and other background information

Vital Events Reference Tables (published 2 August 2017)

The following improvements were made:

  • many of the tables in Sections 5 and 6 were expanded to provide separate figures for the ‘85-89’ and ‘90+’ age-groups;
  • Tables 6.01, 6.02, 6.03, 6.05 were expanded to provide separate figures for Dementia and for Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Table 6.14 was expanded to provide figures for Respiratory System Diseases, and for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease (combined)

Drug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2016 (published 15 August 2017)

  • there is a new annex and table on ‘International Comparisons’;
  • Table 4 has been expanded to provide time-series of the numbers of deaths by age-group for each sex
  • Tables HB1 and C1 have been expanded to provide the numbers of deaths of each sex in the first and last of the years that are covered by the table
  • Table Y has been expanded to show 12 more substances

Alcohol Deaths (published 13 December 2017)

  • this ‘replaces’ the ‘alcohol-related deaths’ web section, following the introduction of a new National Statistics definition of ‘wholly alcohol-specific’ deaths,.
  • it has two sub-sections:
    • the existing ‘alcohol-related deaths’ material, which has been amended to make clear that the figures are based on the old National Statistics definition;
    • a new sub-section on ‘wholly alcohol-specific deaths’, which includes:
      • comments on the main points from the figures
      • eight tables and a chart providing figures based on the new National Statistics definition’;
      • a note on the coverage of the statistics
  • The section also provides background information about the alcohol deaths figures and the introduction of the new definition, and a comparison of the ‘old’ and ‘new’ definition totals for Scotland

Age-standardised Death Rates (updated 13 December 2017)

  • Two new tables have been added:
    • Table 7: All ages age-standardised death rates by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) quintile, Scotland, 2001 to 2006;
    • Table 8 : Under 75s age-standardised death rates by SIMD quintile, Scotland, 2001 to 2006
  • Tables 1 and 2 have also been expanded to include the new definition of alcohol specific deaths.

IRIS cause of death software

From January 2017, the software used to code the causes of death was updated. This affects all NRS’s statistics relating to deaths registered in 2017 onwards, and makes NRS’s mortality statistics more comparable to those for England and Wales and further afield. More information is available in a paper on our website. Other background information about death certificates and coding the causes of death can be found on this website.   

Infographics and data visualisations

‘Infographics’ (these are visual representations of data) and ‘data visualisations’ (these are interactive charts) on the topics listed below were added to the Infographics and Visualisations page of this website:

Background information about the statistics 

Material on the topics listed below was added to the website:

  • the ethnicity of the deceased person, including material on
    • the statistics that have been published
    • how the information should be collected
    • the extent to which the procedures were followed
    • the findings from the first results
    • the quality of the data, including a report on the apparent quality of the data, which was assessed mainly by comparing it with any information for the same person in the 2011 Census
    • some further background  

This was all made available on 14 March 2017, in the new Ethnicity of the deceased person section of this website.