Deaths: key points

  • A total of 54,239 deaths were registered in Scotland in 2014. The annual number of deaths, and the associated rates, have tended to decrease over recent decades as life expectancy has improved and people tend to live longer.
  • Nevertheless, Scotland still has one of the highest rates of mortality in Western Europe.
  • There are geographical variations in mortality, evident at NHS board and council area level.
  • SIMD deprivation level has a strong association with all-cause mortality. In 2014, the death rate for the most deprived tenth of the population (decile) was more than double that for the least deprived decile.
  • Certain causes of death are very common in both the all-ages and under 75-year-old age group, including lung cancer, coronary heart disease such as heart attacks, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Other frequently occurring causes in the all-ages group include certain types of dementia, pneumonia and stroke. In the under 75s, other frequently occurring causes include alcoholic liver disease, certain types of cancer, and accidental drug poisoning. 

Section updates:

  • The last major update of this section was completed in March 2016.
  • The next major update is due to be carried out by end December 2017.