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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
More Scottish births than deaths
People in Glasgow
Scotland's population now stands at 5,116,900
The number of babies being born in Scotland has outnumbered deaths for the first time in more than a decade, according to the latest figures.

Death rates are also said to be at the lowest total since the introduction of civil registration in 1855.

The official statistics have been released by the registrar general.

For the fourth year in a row the country's population increased in the year to mid-2006, with 21,000 more people coming to Scotland.

The population now stands at 5,116,900, thanks to a net migration gain of 8,900 from the rest of the UK and about 12,700 from overseas.

Most rural areas in Scotland are doing better than we realised
Duncan Macniven
Registrar General

The number of births were higher than deaths in 2006 by a margin of 600 - the first time such a trend has been recorded since 1994.

The Annual Review on Demographic Trends showed the most common causes of death remains cancer, 27%, and coronary heart disease, 17%.

Life expectancy for men born in 2005 stands at 74.5 years and 79.5 years for women.

Duncan Macniven, the registrar general, said that although life expectancy had risen, it remained almost one year lower than the EU average for Scottish men and two years for women.

The review also gave details of regional variations, internal migration and marriages.

Mr Macniven added: "There were almost 1,000 fewer marriages in 2006 than in 2005, while the number of divorces increased by almost 20%.

Newborn baby
The number of births was higher than deaths in 2006

"The sharp increase in the number of divorces was mainly the result of a change in the law which shortened the periods of separation before a couple can divorce.

"2006 was the first full year of same-sex civil partnerships - and there were more than 1,000 registered throughout the year."

The special theme of the latest report was regional variation.

It showed that heart disease rates for men in Glasgow, Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire had risen to more than 20% above the national average in recent years.

Rates in Falkirk, Clackmannanshire and Dundee had gone from being below the national average in the mid 1980s to above it since the turn of the century.

Rural areas

Though lung cancer had reduced over recent years, the rate in Glasgow currently stands at 56% above the national average for men and 50% for women.

Mr Macniven said the figures highlighted the poorer performance of most of west central Scotland compared to the rest of the country.

"The disparity appears to have increased rather than reduced," he added.

"And most rural areas in Scotland are doing better than we realised.

"Once the effect of different age structures is removed, they have generally high birth rates and low death rates and are attractive to migrants - not only from elsewhere in Scotland, but also further afield."

Population rises for fourth year
26 Apr 07 |  Scotland
Scottish births outweigh deaths
08 Mar 07 |  Edinburgh and East
Population rises for third year
27 Apr 06 |  Scotland
Mixed report on population stats
20 Dec 05 |  Scotland
'Slowdown' in population decline
20 Oct 05 |  Scotland

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