IN the last quarter of 2018 births fell by 5.9% and deaths rose by 0.6% in Scotland according to figures released today by National Records of Scotland.

12,580 births were recorded which was 1.8% lower than in 2017 and the lowest total for that period since 1855 when registration began.

The previous low of 12,785 was recorded in 2000.

The number of people who died was 14,484 which was 4.7% lower than in the same quarter of 2017. Deaths by common causes such as cancer and coronary heart disease fell as did those caused by respiratory diseases.

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, 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.”

You can read all the statistics online here.