The lowest number of deaths have been recorded in the first quarter of 2012 for at least 100 years.
The Registrar General for Scotland published provisional figures for births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships for the first part of the year on Thursday.
The figures show 14,218 deaths were registered in Scotland between January and the end of March 2012, the lowest number of deaths recorded during the first quarter of the year for at least 100 years.
This was 317 (2.2%) fewer than in the same period of 2011, which had previously shown the lowest total.
It is likely this is the lowest number since registration began in 1855, but statisticians cannot be certain because quarterly statistics are only available from 1901.
The provisional figures also show 14,772 births were registered in the first quarter of the year 159 (1.1%) more than in the same period of 2011.
The number of marriages increased by four per cent to 3,255, 124 more than during the first quarter of 2011. Civil partnerships had fallen to 83 (36 male and 47 female), 15 fewer than during the first quarter of 2011.
Deaths from cancer fell by 0.4% to 3,880. Deaths from coronary heart disease and stroke fell by 7.3% (to 1,923) and 13.6% (to 1,164) respectively.
Registrar General for Scotland, George MacKenzie, said: "Scotland recorded its lowest ever annual total of deaths in 2011, and these figures show the number of deaths has continued to fall in 2012 to the lowest level in the first quarter for over a century."
“The figures also show that the number of births during the first quarter of 2012 was higher than in the same period last year. The number of marriages also increased, while the number of civil partnerships fell."