National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

NRS Publication Schedule Changes

NRS Publication Schedule Changes

Future Publications

Details of publications which are now available, but were affected by schedule changes during 2020, can be found below in the section Recent publications.

1. Causes of Death

National Records of Scotland (NRS) has had to delay publishing its statistics of the causes of the deaths that were registered in 2020, including the numbers of deaths due to (for example) alcohol and suicide.

They were originally scheduled for publication in June.  However, by the end of April 2021, NRS was still waiting for the information required to finalise the cause for a number of deaths.  As a consequence, NRS has had to delay the publication of these statistics until August.

The Future and Recent Publications page of the NRS website has now been updated with the revised publication dates.   

Further detail

Sudden, suspicious and accidental deaths are investigated by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). The nature and level of investigation will vary depending on the circumstances of the death. A post mortem examination may be required as part of that investigation. Further investigations may be instructed by the pathologist who conducted the post mortem examination where the cause of death is not clear. In this situation, a provisional cause of death will be provided in which it will be explained that the final cause of death is ‘pending investigation’ or similar terminology. As such, in this situation, the cause of a death is not known at the time of death registration. As soon as the results of the further investigations become available, the pathologist will provide COPFS with a final cause of death, and COPFS passes this information on to NRS finalise the cause of death statistics.

Normally NRS will receive the relevant data for the previous year’s deaths by the end of April, and publish the various cause of death publications in June and July. Last year, these NRS publications (covering 2019 deaths) were delayed until November 2020, due to delays in the receipt of the necessary information. The combination of clearing the backlog of toxicology analyses and the significant increase in the number of deaths requiring investigation in 2020 has led to delays in receiving the required info in time for this year’s publications.

NRS are committed to turning around publications as quickly as possible, while ensuring that the data and key findings are robust and credible. Based on the volume of information still to be received, NRS are unable to publish these statistics in June as originally intended and they are now scheduled for publication in August.  

The publications affected by this are as follows:

Vital Events Reference Tables 2020 (chapter 6 plus selected tables with cause of death breakdowns)
Probable suicides 2020
Alcohol-specific deaths 2020
Avoidable mortality 2020
Deaths from specific causes 2020

The drug-related deaths 2020 publication is currently scheduled for publication in July.  An update confirming the publication date for these statistics will be issued shortly.  

2. Population by Country of Birth and Nationality, January to December 2020 (Updated on 17 May 2021)

National Records of Scotland (NRS) were planning to publish updated population estimates by country of birth and nationality for Scotland and each council area in May 2021. However, due to delays in the supply of data following work to reweight the Annual Population Survey, which has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, this is now planned to be published in late summer 2021. NRS will inform users when a rescheduled date is confirmed.

3. Projected Population of Scotland (2020-based) (Updated on 17 May 2021)

National Records of Scotland usually publish National Population Projections (NPP) every two years. A 2020-based set of NPPs were planned for publication in October 2021, however, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on various data sources, this is now planned for December 2021. These will be interim principal NPPs and no variant projections will be produced. We will inform users once a publication date has been set. No 2020-based Sub-National Population Projections are planned.

4. Migration Statistics Quarterly Summary for Scotland (Updated on 17 May 2021)

Publication of the Migration Statistics Quarterly Summary for Scotland has been paused while migration statistics are undergoing a transformation programme. Immigration Statistics and National Insurance Number allocations data will continue to be published on a quarterly basis by Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions, respectively.

5. Deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland (Updated on 31 March 2021)

Due to upcoming public holidays, Deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland, Week 13 will be published at Noon, Thursday 8 April. The following weekly editions will continue to be published at Noon, every Wednesday.

6. Mid-2020 Population Estimates for Scotland and Migration Statistics

National Records of Scotland (NRS) were planning to publish Mid-2020 Population Estimates for Scotland as well as Migration Statistics in April 2021. However, due to further work being undertaken to develop the international migration estimates for 2020, these publications have been delayed. NRS are now currently planning for publication in June 2021 and will inform users when a rescheduled date is confirmed. 

The International Passenger Survey (IPS) has been the data source through which Long Term International Migration (LTIM) to Scotland (and England and Wales) has been estimated. However, in March 2020 the IPS was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, there is no LTIM estimate for the period April to June 2020. The Office for National Statistics are leading research to estimate international migration for this period; however this data will not be available for publication in April. As a consequence, NRS has had to delay their publication.

Recent Publications

1. Scotland’s Population – The Registrar General’s Annual Review of Demographic Trends

Scotland’s Population – The Registrar General’s Annual Review of Demographic Trends for 2019 was published in October this year, rather than the previously announced month of August. This was to reallocation of some resources to support ongoing COVID-19 related work, and to ensure that the product going out was of the highest possible quality.

2. Electoral Statistics, Scotland, March 2020 (Updated 1 December 2020)

National Records of Scotland (NRS) had to delay publishing Electoral Statistics, Scotland, March 2020. This one off publication was originally scheduled for 29 October 2020.  However, by the middle of October 2020, NRS had not received some of the information that it relies on to calculate all the statistics.  As a consequence, NRS has had to delay this publication and was released on 5 January 2021.

3. Deaths from Specific Causes in 2019 - delay in publication of statistics (Updated on 30th October 2020)

  • Deaths from Specific Causes, 2019
  • Vital Events Reference Tables, 2019 (only the section on causes of death)
  • Drug-related deaths in Scotland, 2019
  • Volatile Substance Abuse and Helium Deaths, 2019

Summary

National Records of Scotland (NRS) has had to delay publishing its statistics of the causes of the deaths that were registered in 2019, including the numbers of deaths due to (for example) drugs, alcohol and suicide.

They were originally scheduled for publication in June and July (like the corresponding statistics for the previous few years).  However, by the end of April 2020, NRS had not received some of the information that it relies on to categorise many deaths as being due to (e.g.) drugs, alcohol and suicide.  As a consequence, NRS has had to delay their publication. 

The Future and Recent Publications page of the NRS website has now been updated with the revised publication dates.   

Further detail

Deaths from unknown causes are investigated by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). Sometimes these investigations require toxicology tests to be undertaken to determine the actual cause of death.  For 2019, there have been a number of toxicology tests outstanding, and consequent delays in finalising the causes of deaths.

NRS would usually finalise in April the death registration data to be used in its publications covering causes of death (including drug deaths, alcohol deaths and suicides). At the end of April 2020, there were almost 900 deaths, registered in 2019, with the cause still not known.  It is not possible to produce reliable statistics of deaths from some causes when there remain so many deaths with unknown cause.  Therefore, NRS could not publish these figures in June and July, as originally intended.

NRS has been monitoring the quality and completeness of the necessary data from COPFS.  Based on the information received to date, NRS will now be publishing the delayed publications as follows

  • 24 November 2020 - Death from various causes, 2019
  • 15 December 2020 - Drug-related deaths in Scotland, 2019
  • 15 December 2020 - Volatile Substance Abuse and Helium Deaths, 2019

4. Population by Country of Birth and Nationality, July 2019 to June 2020

National Records of Scotland (NRS) has had to delay publishing updated population estimates by country of birth and nationality for Scotland and each council area. 

This was planned for Thursday, 26 November 2020; however, this publication is now subject to delay as the estimates are sourced from the Annual Population Survey (APS) which has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. APS datasets had to be reweighted to take into account changes in data collection and to ensure that the types of people responding remained representative. The Office for National Statistics (ONS), who carry out the APS, have published a blog post with more information. 

The new publication date has now been confirmed as 14 January 2021.

5. Covid Publication Plans over the Christmas Period

As there will be limited registration activity due to public holidays over the Christmas period, we have made some adjustments to our publication plans for the weekly report as follows:

Deaths registered in week 51 (14th to 20th December) – Publish as usual on Wednesday 23rd December

Deaths registered in week 52 (21st to 27th December) – No publication on Wednesday 30th December

Deaths registered in week 53 (28th December to 3rd January) – Published on Thursday 7th January (will also include figures for week 52)

6. Healthy Life Expectancy in Scotland, 2017-2019

National Records of Scotland (NRS) has had to delay publishing updated estimates of healthy life expectancy for Scotland and Scottish areas.
 
This was planned for Friday, 18 December 2020; however, this publication is now subject to delay as more time is needed to quality assure the data internally, and with ONS who are producing estimates for the UK.
 
This publication was released on 25 January 2021

7. Babies' First Names, 2020

National Records of Scotland (NRS) has had to delay publishing "Babies' First Names 2020".  This was originally scheduled for publication in December 2020.  However, due to restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19, a backlog of birth registration data has built up over 2020, which would prevent a comprehensive summary being produced.  In addition, NRS is also prioritising resource to the provision of additional COVID-19 mortality analysis over the coming months, alongside the production of other key demographic publications such as drug-related deaths. The full list of “Babies First Names 2020” was published on 23 March 2021.