The number of births registered in Scotland in the first three months of 2020 has hit its lowest level since civil registration began in 1855.
National Records of Scotland (NRS) provisional figures indicate 11,023 births were registered between January 1 and March 31, giving a rate of 8.1 births per 1000 of the population and continuing a downward trend since 2008.
But NRS said as most registration offices closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic and the registration of births was postponed, the number does not accurately reflect the number of newborns in this period.
The provisional figures have been published by NRS along with statistics on deaths and marriages for the first quarter of 2020.
The figures indicate there were 15,932 deaths registered in the first three months of 2020, of which 145 recorded Covid-19 as the underlying cause, with the first such death registered in mid-March.
The death rate for this period was 11.7 deaths per 1000 population.
The number of deaths registered was 4.1% higher than in the first quarter of 2019 but fell 1.4% compared to the quarter one average for the previous five years.
The age-standardised mortality rate, described by NRS as the “best indicator of the direction of the mortality trend” increased by 0.4% in the year to 2020 quarter one.
Pete Whitehouse, NRS director of statistical services, said: “The number of births registered in the first quarter was the lowest since records began and continues the downward trend we have seen since 2008.
“However, this is partly due to the closure of registration offices and suspension of birth and marriage registrations in March.
“The age-standardised mortality rate, which adjusts for Scotland’s ageing population, has increased by 0.4% over the last year.”
Compared with the first quarter average over the previous five years, 2015-2019, the number of deaths from cancer rose by 1.5% to 4169 while those for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease rose by 1.9% to 1857.
Drops were recorded in deaths from coronary heart disease (down 6.5% to 1750), cerebrovascular disease (down 7.2% to 1064) and respiratory disease (down 22.1% to 1872).
Meanwhile, the number of marriages recorded in the first three months of 2020 was also the lowest on record at 3024.
A 14.3% drop on the five-year average for this period, this is also partly attributed to coronavirus restrictions.
There were 120 same-sex marriages between January and March 2020, down nine on the same period in 2019, of which seven were changes from civil partnerships.
The number of civil partnerships registered in the first quarter of this year rose by eight from the same period the previous year, to 22.