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Last Updated: Friday, 28 July 2006, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Death rate reaches a record low
People in high street - generic
The figures showed a further increase in the population
Scotland's death rate was the lowest last year since registration began in 1855, according to the latest figures.

There were 55,747 deaths in 2005, 440 fewer than in 2004.

Registrar General Duncan Macniven said the population rose for the third year in a row because of inward migration and a "modest" rise in births.

However, the number of women dying from alcohol-related diseases reached a record high last year, a development Mr Macniven said was "extremely worrying".

Alcohol was responsible for the deaths of 1,021 men and a record 492 females.

The two most common causes of death in 2005 were cancer, responsible for 27% of deaths and coronary heart disease, which caused 19% of deaths.

The main reason for the population increase was because in-migrants exceeded out-migrants by 19,000
Duncan Macniven
Registrar General for Scotland

However, Mr Macniven said "good progress" was being made in reducing mortality from Scotland's three big killers, which also includes stroke.

The review of demographic trends also showed a population increase last year of 16,400, bringing the total number of people living in Scotland to 5.09m.

Mr Macniven said: "The main reason for the increase was because in-migrants exceeded out-migrants by 19,000."

He said last year's migration gain was the second highest since records began in the early 1950s.

Duncan Macniven
Mr Macniven said Scotland's population would rise by 2019

West Lothian, East Lothian and Stirling saw the biggest population rises in the past decade.

The largest decreases occurred in the Western Isles, Aberdeen and Inverclyde.

Mr Macniven said: "Looking forward, Scotland's population is projected to rise to 5.13m in 2019 before falling below five million in 2036, reaching 4.86 million by 2044."

Dr Nanette Milne MSP, the Scottish Conservative health spokesperson, described the rise in alcohol-related deaths as "very worrying".

'Targeted campaign'

"Lifestyles have clearly changed over the past two decades, and we now see women drinking as much as men," she said.

"This would suggest that the Scottish Executive's strategy to tackle alcohol abuse isn't making any real impact on the problem."

The SNP called on the executive to do more to ensure its health message got through to young girls.

The party's health spokeswoman Shona Robison said: "With women having rising lung cancer death rates and the highest alcohol-related death rates, we are in urgent need of a more targeted health campaign to the female audience."

See more details about the records

Figures show snapshot of Scotland
23 May 06 |  Scotland
Glasgow faces death rate problem
18 Apr 06 |  Scotland
Scots dying later, research shows
06 Oct 05 |  Scotland

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