Birth Registrations (Scotland), 1974-
- Birth Registrations (Scotland), 1974-
- Principal investigator(s):
- National Records of Scotland
- Data collector(s):
- Local Registrars
- Population, vital statistics and censuses
Abstract copyright ADRN.
The Birth Registration dataset for Scotland contains administrative records about birth events occurred in Scotland since 1855, while electronic individual records are available from 1974 onwards. Typically, the information collected through the registration form includes the date, time and place of birth, child’s name and sex, mother’s full name, place of residence, occupation, and details of the father depending on the marital status. Other information is collected for statistical information and this includes the mother’s previous children and her birth details as well as additional details about the father. A father’s name can be added to the register at any time after the birth.
The registration of births in Scotland is controlled by the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act 1965. The Act controls the registration system of births, deaths and marriages in Scotland, including the provision of statistics to Scottish Ministers and the power to the Registrar General authority to correct errors in entries. All births in Scotland must be registered within 21 days by a Local Registrar. This applies even if the baby is stillborn or only lives for a short time. The doctor or midwife attending the delivery must issue a medical certificate of stillbirth and this certificate is used to register the birth.
The paper records are sent by Local Registrars to National Records of Scotland in January of each year. However, birth registrations recorded by Local Registrars are also linked by a computer system and so National Records of Scotland always has a ‘live’ and up to date system of birth registrations in Scotland. In particular, every birth registered is entered by a Local Registrar onto the Forward Electronic Register (FER) system. This is a live computer system linked to National Records of Scotland. The information is then transferred to the National Records of Scotland Vital Events statistical database where quality checks are carried out on each record. The National Records of Scotland Birth Registration data is of a high standard. Automatic quality checks are carried out by the National Records of Scotland computer system at the point of entry by the Local Registrar and further checks are then carried out by staff once the information has been passed into the National Records of Scotland Vital Events statistical database.
Information on births in England and Wales is recorded by the Office for National Statistics. In Northern Ireland it is recorded by the Department for Finance and Personnel. Birth registration records for England & Wales and/or Northern Ireland may not always be on exactly the same basis as National Records of Scotland’s figures for Scotland as there can be differences in the coverage of what at first sight appear to be the same statistics.
For the purpose of producing statistics of home births from the information which is held in National Records of Scotland’s database, the following definition should exclude almost all the births which occur elsewhere:
- the final character of the ‘institution’ code is ‘N’ (i.e., the birth did not take place in an institution);
- the postcode of the mother’s usual residence is the same as the postcode of the place of birth (in order to exclude births which took place in, say, the house of another family member); and
- the mother’s country of residence is Scotland (this condition is necessary because, for mothers who are not resident in Scotland, the value in the National Records of Scotland statistical database’s field for the postcode of the mother’s usual residence may actually be the postcode of the place of birth. This is done so that, when National Records of Scotland produces statistics for areas within Scotland, it counts births to mothers who are not resident in Scotland on the basis of where the births occurred. National Records of Scotland produces its statistics of births to mothers who are not resident in Scotland by using the database’s separate code for mother’s country of residence).
Note that this definition may not produce absolutely accurate figures for home births. It will include any cases where a mother gave birth in another home within the same postcode, and exclude cases where a woman chose (or had) to give birth in someone else’s home that was in a different postcode.
All the Vital Events statistics of births, stillbirths, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths on the National Records of Scotland website are based on the date of registration of the event and not the date on which the event occurred. For example, a birth on 31 December 2010 which was registered on 5 January 2011 would be included in the 2011 figures (because the statistics are the numbers of events registered in the specified period). All Vital Events which occur in Scotland should be registered in Scotland, even if the people involved are residents of other countries. For example, if an American tourist dies in Scotland, the death should be registered in Scotland.
Research Usage and Linkage
The National Records of Scotland Birth Registration data are used in combination with other Vital Events statistics to produce a wide variety of statistics and research and answer parliamentary questions. This includes estimating the size of the population to meet population growth targets.
National Records of Scotland Birth Registration data are also used as part of the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS). This is a large-scale linkage study which has been created using data from a range of government statistical administrative sources. This high quality longitudinal research dataset can be used to provide an insight into the health and social status of the Scottish population and how it changes over time.
The National Records of Scotland Birth Registration records have been linked to other many studies and research. For example the data is part of the Millennium Cohort Study, a 1% sample of census records and vital events data to help examine important social health and demographic issues. The Birth Registration data are also used by NHS Scotland for a wide variety of research including fertility rates and teenage pregnancies. NRS birth records are in fact part of NHS Scotland’s Maternity and Neonatal Linked Database, which contains obstetric histories of mothers giving birth since 1981.
In theory the National Records of Scotland Birth Registration records can be linked to other datasets with common identifiable fields such as name, address and postcode.
Coverage, universe, methodology
- Time period:
- Observation units:
- Kind of data:
Individual (micro) level
All births occurred in Scotland (and registered to a local registrar) since 1974.
- Time dimensions:
Repeated cross-sectional study
- Sampling procedures:
No sampling (total universe)
- Number of units:
- Approximately 60,000 records per year
- Method of data collection:
Compilation or synthesis of existing material
All births in Scotland must be registered by a Local Registrar. The paper records are sent by Local Registrars to National Records of Scotland in January of each year. In addiction, every birth registered is entered by a Local Registrar onto the Forward Electronic Register (FER) system. This is a live computer system linked to National Records of Scotland. The information is then transferred to the National Records of Scotland Vital Events statistical database.
- Frequency of release:
- Data Updated:
Administrative and access information
- Crown copyright
- Access conditions:
- Contact the Network
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By principal investigator(s):
- Ellis, T. (2013) Annual Report of The Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Scotland 2012, GROS.
Resulting from secondary analysis:
- Smith, G.C.S., Wood, A.M., Pell, J.P., Dobbie, R. (2005) 'Sudden infant death syndrome and complications in other pregnancies', The Lancet, 366(9503), pp. 2107-2111.
- Popham, F., Bambra, C. (2008) 'Movement from ill health related economic inactivity into employment and its impact on health: evidence from the Scottish Longitudinal Study'.
- Hockley, C., Quigley, M.A., Hughes, G., Calderwood, L., Joshi, H., Davidson L.L. (2008) 'Linking Millennium Cohort data to birth registration and hospital episode records', Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 22(1), pp. 99-109. 10.1111/j.1365-3016.2007.00902.x.
- Norman, J.E., Morris, C., Chalmers, J. (2009) 'The Effect of Changing Patterns of Obstetric Care in Scotland (1980-2004) on Rates of Preterm Birth and Its Neonatal Consequences: Perinatal Database Study.', PLoS Med, 6(9), pp. 1-12. 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000153
- Raab, G.M., Henderson, M. (2010) 'Teenage mothers and fathers in Scotland. 1991 to 2001'.
- Smith, G.C.S., Wood, A.M., White, I.R., Pell, J.P., Hattie, J. (2010) 'Birth Weight and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in the Maternal Grandparents', American Journal of Epidemiology, 171(6), pp. 736-744. 10.1093/aje/kwp448.
- Smith, G.C.S., Wood, A.M., Pell, J.P., Hattie, J. (2011) 'Recurrent miscarriage is associated with a family history of ischaemic heart disease: a retrospective cohort study', BJOG, 118(5), pp. 557-563. 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2010.02890.x.
- Riordan, D.V., Morris, C., Hattie, J., Stark C. (2012) 'Interbirth spacing and offspring mental health outcomes', Psychol Med., 42(12), pp. 2511-2521. 10.1017/S0033291712000888.
- Riordan, D.V., Morris, C., Hattie, J., Stark C. (2012) 'Family size and perinatal circumstances, as mental health risk factors in a Scottish birth cohort', Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 47(6), pp. 975-983. 10.1007/s00127-011-0405-5.
- Wood, A.M., Pasupathy, D., Pell, J.P., Fleming, M., Smith, G.C.S. (2012) 'Trends in socioeconomic inequalities in risk of sudden infant death syndrome, other causes of infant mortality, and stillbirth in Scotland: population based study', BMJ, 334(e1552). http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1552
- Zumpe, J., Dormon, O., Jefferies, J. (2012) Childbearing Among UK Born and Non-UK Born Women Living in the UK, ONS.