National Records of Scotland

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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 2021 are provisional and may be revised.  

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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. A further table presents the number of births by month of occurrence 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. A new table, added in December 2021, presents the monthly age-standardised mortality rates from 2000-2022 and deaths by month of occurrence.

Commentary

  • There were 5,105 deaths registered in May 2022, an increase of 9.6 per cent compared to the average of 4,656.

  • There were 3,986 births registered in May 2022, a decrease of 7.3 percent when compared with the average of 4,229.

  • 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 therefore decided to continue to use the 2015-2019 averages to compare with 2021 births and deaths.
  • 2022 figures are being compared against a five year average of the years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. This approach is also being used by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The reasons for this choice are laid out in a paper on the NRS Website.

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.

In June 2021 we added monthly data on births by month of occurrence 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.

In December 2021 we added monthly age-standardised mortality rates, and deaths by month of occurrence for the year 2000 onwards.

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]

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