THE number of births registered in Scotland last year was the lowest since records began in 1855, according to latest data.

Final 2019 figures from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show there were 49,863 live births registered in 2019.

There were more deaths than births in Scotland for the fifth year running, with 8245 more deaths than births.

Last year, 58,108 deaths were registered, a 0.7% decrease on the number in 2018 but the second highest annual total since 2003.

The age-standardised mortality rate, which takes account of the changing population structure, was 1,107.6 per 100,000 people in 2019, a decrease of 3% on 2018.

READ MORE: Scotland's population reaches highest ever total of 5.4 million

Pete Whitehouse, NRS director of Statistical Services, said: "The latest figures maintain the recent trends, with births continuing to fall and little change in the death rate.

"The age-standardised death rate, which takes account of the growing and ageing population, had been decreasing steadily over recent decades but has changed very little since 2014."

There were 174 stillbirths in 2019, a rate of 3.5 for every 1000 live and still births – and the lowest stillbirth rate ever recorded.

Marriages fell to the lowest number on record, with 26,007 in 2019. Of these, 912 were same-sex marriages. Just under half of all marriages were civil ceremonies, at 12,635.

Of the bodies that carried out the remaining ceremonies, the most common denominations were Humanist Society Scotland (3276), Church of Scotland (2225), independent Humanist ceremonies (1270) and the Roman Catholic Church (911).

There were 83 civil partnerships in 2019, 18 more than in the previous year.

A total of 50 of these involved male couples and 33 involved female couples.