The number of registered deaths in Scotland is almost 9% lower than expected during the first quarter of 2024.

New figures published by the National Records of Scotland have shown that 16,755 deaths were registered between January 1 and March 31 and that is 8.9% lower than the expected figure of 18,391.

Deaths have been lower throughout every age group, too, and that continues a trend that has been seen in the second half of 2023 and into 2024.

Deaths among people aged 65 and younger were down 4%, with the 65-79 age group 8% lower than expected while there were 1,051 (11%) less deaths among people aged 80 and over in the the first three months of 2024.

It is a similar story for births with figures showing that only 11,560 were registered in the first quarter of this year, down 4.6% on the five year average.

The comparison over five years doesn’t include 2020 because they were severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and therefore the five years have been from 2018 to 2019 and then 2021 to 2023.

Phillipa Haxton, Head of Vital Events Statistics at NRS, said:“The number of deaths was almost 9% lower than our expected number for this time of year.

“The method for calculating excess deaths accounts for the large numbers of babies born post war reaching the age groups at which end of life is more likely. The previous method did not adjust for the increasing size of this group and underestimated how many deaths there would be in the population.”