Scotland suffered “negative natural change” in its population, as deaths outnumbered births last year.
New figures from National Records of Scotland (NRS) showed that over 2022 as a whole there were 46,959 births and 62,942 deaths, leaving a “shortfall” of 15,983 births compared to deaths.
A total of 11,899 births were registered in the final three months of last year – with this total down by 4.9% when compared to the average for this period over the last five years.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths was 9.3% above the average, with NRS data showing 16,856 deaths were recorded in October to December 2022.
Compared to the four-year average for 2016 to 2019, the final quarter of 2022 had 8.7% more deaths from respiratory diseases – with these totalling 1,900.
There were 4.5% more deaths from coronary heart disease than the average, with 1,835 recorded.
There were also 1,775 deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, with the total for this 3.1% higher than the average.
Cancer deaths were 1.3% higher than the average, with 4,291 people dying as a result of the disease in the last quarter of 2022.
Cerebrovascular disease – such as strokes – killed 1,084 people over the three-month period, with this 3.8% higher than the average from 2016 to 2019.
Meanwhile, Covid-19 was the underlying cause of 353 deaths in the period October to December 2022.
Julie Ramsay, vital events statistician at NRS, said: “The gap between deaths and births continues the period of negative natural change, where the number of deaths outnumbers the number of births, which began in 2015.
“Having fewer births than deaths in a population is referred to as ‘negative natural change’ meaning that without external factors such as migration, the population will fall.”
Meanwhile, 6,370 couples got married between October and December, with this 2.9% above the average for the period.
NRS data showed there were 265 same-sex marriages, compared with a five-year average of 223.
With mixed-sex couples also now allowed to enter a civil partnership, 141 of these were registered in the last three months of 2022 – with this making up the bulk of the 169 civil partnerships that took place during this period.
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