Quarter 4 births at lowest levels since records began
Provisional figures on births and deaths from the National Records of Scotland
There were 12,580 births and 14,484 deaths registered in Scotland between 1 October and 31 December 2018, according to provisional figures released yesterday by National Records of Scotland. Compared to the quarter four average for the last five years, births have fallen by 5.9 per cent and deaths have risen by 0.6 cent.
The publication, ‘Births, deaths and other vital events, fourth quarter 2018’, shows that at 12,580, the number of births registered in the fourth quarter was 1.8 per cent lower than in the same period of 2017. This fall takes the quarter four total to its lowest level since civil registration began in 1855. This is the second record-low number of quarterly births in a row, with quarter three also falling to its lowest level in 2018. Expressed as a rate, there were 9.2 births per 1,000 population.
The total number of quarter four births fell to a previous low of 12,785 in 2000. It then rose to 14,540 in 2008 before falling in more recent years. There is no single reason for the fall in the number of births, but possible causes may include the postponement of childbearing until older ages, often meaning that women will have fewer children; and economic uncertainty influencing decisions around childbearing, particularly given that the beginning of the recent fall coincided with the financial crash a decade ago.
At 14,484, the number of deaths registered was 4.7 per cent lower than in the same period of 2017. Expressed as a rate, there were 10.6 deaths per 1,000 population.
Compared with the fourth quarter of 2017:
- The number of cancer deaths fell by 1.6 per cent to 4,264;
- The number of deaths from coronary heart disease fell by 5.4 per cent to 1,675;
- The number of deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease fell by 11.6 per cent to 1,596;
- Deaths from respiratory diseases fell by 16.7 per cent to 1,511;
- There were 1,003 deaths from cerebrovascular disease (a decrease of 1.3 per cent).
The provisional figures also show there were 6,125 marriages in total, 150 more than during the fourth quarter of 2018 (a rise of 2.5 per cent). There were 227 same-sex marriages, 1 fewer (0.4 per cent) than in the same period of 2017. Of the same sex marriages registered in the fourth quarter, 25 (11.0 per cent) were changes from civil partnerships.
There were 24 civil partnerships (14 male and 10 female), 1 more than during the fourth quarter of 2017.
Paul Lowe, the Registrar General for Scotland, yesterday said:
“Continuing the downward trend since 2008, the number of births for the fourth quarter of 2018 has been at its lowest number recorded since civil registration began. This is the second record-low number of quarterly births in a row, with quarter three also falling to its lowest level in 2018.
“The number of deaths fell compared to the recent peak recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017, but was slightly higher than the average of the previous 5 years”
Notes to Editors
- National Records of Scotland (NRS) is responsible for producing statistics on Scotland’s population.
- The full publication, Births, deaths and other vital events – fourth quarter 2018, includes figures for NHS Boards and local authority areas.
- Figures are provisional and might be subject to further revision. Figures for 2018 will be finalised when the annual vital events reference tables are published in June this year.
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