Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 11:50 UK

Death rate 'lowest in 30 years'

The figures show a drop in the number of deaths in the last two quarters

Deaths in Scotland in the first half of 2009 were at their lowest level for at least three decades, according to the latest provisional figures.

The General Register Office for Scotland said there were 12,770 deaths in the second quarter of 2009.

That was 5.4% fewer than the same period in 2008, and the lowest total between April and June in 30 years.

The figures also revealed a slight fall in the number of marriages and births, compared with the same period in 2008.

'Rates fluctuate'

Registrar General for Scotland, Duncan Macniven, said: "The memorable part of today's figures is the low number of deaths.

"Death rates fluctuate and we shouldn't make too much of a single quarter.

"But we've seen a reduction in the last two quarters, giving the lowest number of deaths and lowest death rate in the first half of a year for at least three decades."

Deaths from stroke and coronary heart disease fell by 6.5% and 10.7% respectively.

Other comparisons with the second quarter of 2008 showed that marriages were down by 32 from 7,904 to 7,872.

A total of 145 civil partnerships were registered in the quarter, 31 more than those held in the second quarter of 2008.

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