The number of births in Scotland last year fell to its lowest level in a decade, official figures have revealed.
There were 54,488 births registered in 2016 – 612 (1.1%) fewer than in 2015, the lowest figure recorded since 2005 and continuing a general decline in births since the most recent peak of 60,041 in 2008.
The provisional figures for births, deaths, adoptions, marriages and civil partnerships in 2016 were published today by the National Records of Scotland.
At 56,728, the number of deaths registered in 2016 was 851 (1.5%) lower than in 2015.
This is the second highest number of deaths recorded since 2003 (2015 was highest) although due to the growing population, the death rate (10.6 deaths per 1,000 population) is lower than it was in 2008 (10.7).
Deaths from cancer fell by 1.3% to 15,890, deaths from coronary heart disease fell by 6.9% to 6,651, and there were 4,143 deaths from cerebrovascular disease (a fall of 3.7%).
There was a 5.2% decrease (to 7,271) in deaths from respiratory diseases. Deaths from dementia fell by 9% to 3,603 and deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease rose by 10.5% to 1,963.
The number of marriages fell by 462 compared to 2015 and levels remain historically low.
Of the 29,229 marriages registered in 2016, 999 involved same sex couples and, of the same sex marriages, 174 were changes from previous civil partnerships.
There were 70 civil partnerships (42 male and 28 female), six more than in 2015.