National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Weekly and Monthly Data on Births and Deaths Registered in Scotland

Weekly and Monthly Data on Births and Deaths Registered in Scotland

This section presents summary weekly and monthly data on births and deaths. All the figures for 2020 and 2021 are provisional and may be revised.  

National Statistics Logo

Deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland - Weekly data on the number of deaths registered where coronavirus (COVID-19) is mentioned on the death certificate.  Also includes the weekly number of total deaths. Data covers deaths registered up until 3 days prior to publication date.  Includes breakdowns by age, sex and health board of residence.

Weekly Data on Births and Deaths Registered in Scotland
The weekly data gives the total numbers of births and deaths registered in each week, from the start of 1974 up to and including the last week of the most recent month.

Monthly Data on Births and Deaths Registered in Scotland
The monthly data presents the number of births and deaths registered in Scotland, and each NHS Board area and Council area, for every month from the start of 1990 (1996 for council areas) up to and including the most recent completed month. We have added a new table on births by month of occurrence. This includes the number of births in each month, rather than the number of registrations, to provide more useable data on the number of births during the part of 2020 when registration of births was postponed, and the subsequent months when all of the postponed registrations took place.

Commentary

  • There were 4,329 deaths registered in May 2021, an decrease of 7.3 per cent compared to the average of 4,672 for the five Mays over the period 2015-2019. During March 2020 registration offices changed their procedures due to the Covid-19 pandemic in order to be able to register deaths by telephone or by electronic means. This continued in May 2021.

  • There have been 3,543 births registered in May 2021, a decrease of 20.4 percent when compared with an average of 4,452 for the five Mays over the period 2015-2019. Most birth registrations were postponed from the second part of March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some birth registrations restarted in late June 2020 and the figures from that point until March 2021 include registrations of some births which couldn’t be registered earlier in the year.

  • Usually the previous five years are used to compare against the most recent year’s births and deaths. For example, in 2020, excess deaths were measured by comparing the 2020 deaths figure against the average for 2015-2019.  For 2021 we would generally calculate excess deaths by comparing the 2021 figure against the average for 2016-2020.  However, as excess deaths are a key measure of the effect of the pandemic, it is not appropriate to compare the 2021 figure against the 2016-2020 average as that average will be affected by the pandemic with higher deaths in 2020. We have therefore decided to continue to use the 2015-2019 averages to compare with 2021 births and deaths.

Ordinarily, the number of births and deaths can fluctuate from week to week, or month to month, and has a seasonal pattern so care should be taken when making comparisons based on one or two data points. 

Improvements made to this publication

In April 2020 we extended the weekly births and deaths series back to 1974 due to increased user demand.

We’ve used ISO8601 throughout the time series for consistency in allocating week numbers, so some figures may differ slightly to those published previously.

Background

Until June 2015 the weekly birth and death figures and the monthly death figures were released each quarter but are now released on a monthly basis. National Records of Scotland (NRS) collects the underlying data on a daily basis, as and when each event is registered. The statistics for the latest month and weeks are all new; some of the figures for earlier months and weeks may have been revised slightly. 

In December 2015 monthly birth figures were added to this section.

In April 2018 an additional table was added to show monthly deaths broken down by certain causes of death.

Information about (e.g.) the sources, methods, definitions and reliability of these statistics is available from the NRS website's pages of general background information on Vital Events statistics, background information on points which are specific to statistics on births, and background information on points which are specific to statistics about deaths.

These figures are directly comparable with those for other parts of the United Kingdom: there are no significant differences across the UK in how Vital Events data are collected and processed.

Some of the figures given here are provisional because there may be some slight revisions to the overall totals when the final statistics for the calendar year as a whole are published in the following summer.

Contact Us

Please get in touch if you need any further information, or have any suggestions for improvement.

Statistics Customer Services telephone: (0131) 314 4299
E-mail: [email protected]

Lead Statistician: Julie Ramsay

For media enquiries, please contact [email protected]

 

 

All statistical publications