Scotland’s birth rate sinks to 15-year low

Scotland's recent population growth has been down to immigration. Picture: Jon Savage
Scotland's recent population growth has been down to immigration. Picture: Jon Savage
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Scotland's birth rate has sunk to a 15-year low, while the number of deaths are at a 32-year high, official figures have revealed.

The ageing population is behind the trend and again underlines the country's reliance on immigration to keep the population growing.

Deaths outstripped births by 7,600 in the year to the end of March - this is up by more than 5,000 on the same time last year, according to the figures released by the National Records of Scotland.

The rise is being driven by more age-related conditions like Alzheimer's and dementia.

Anne Slater, the Acting Registrar General for Scotland, said: “Over the longer term, deaths from coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease have decreased considerably whilst the number of deaths from cancer and respiratory disease has risen slightly.

"There has been a relatively large increase in the number of deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease with such deaths now accounting for more than 10 per cent of all deaths compared to 5 per cent a decade ago.”

Read more: Concern as Scotland’s birth rate falls to 14-year low
The 12,713 births recorded in Scotland in the first quarter of 2018 was the lowest since 2003, while the 17,771 deaths was more than 2,000 up on last year and the highest since 1986.


There were 52,322 babies born in Scotland in the year to to the end of March, compared with 59,943 deaths over the same period.


The number of deaths from dementia rose by 15 per cent to 1,416 in the first three months of the year, compared with 2017. There was an increase of 22.5 per cent in the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease to 795.