IN contrast to national figures, the number of deaths in the Borders last year outnumbered the number of births, according to statistics released from the General Register Office for Scotland.
The number of deaths in Scotland fell to 53,661 in 2011, the lowest number since records began in 1855, while the number of registered births stood at 58,592.
Of the 53,661 deaths nationwide, 1,234 of those occurred in the Borders.
The most common cause of death in the region was heart disease claiming the lives of 171 men and 217 women. Nationally, deaths from coronary heart disease fell by 6.6 per cent to 7,602 and deaths from strokes fell by 3.5 per cent to 4,598.
Another common cause of death in the Borders region was tumours, taking the lives of 166 men and 165 women, while malignant tumours caused 164 male fatalities and 163 female fatalities.
Another condition which unfortunately claimed the lives of 65 men and 76 women was respiratory disease while cancer of the trachea, bronchus and lungs led to the deaths of 48 men and 37 women.
The Borders population stood at 112,870 last year, boosted by 1,108 births. Unfortunately there were also six still births.
There were 732 marriages and 10 civil partnerships forged - six male and four female.
The number of births registered nationwide in 2011 was 58,592 – 199 (0.3 per cent) fewer than in 2010.
Fifty one per cent of births were to unmarried parents, the highest percentage recorded.
There were 29,135 marriages in 2011 – 655 (2.3 per cent) more than in 2010 and the highest figure since 2007.
Commenting on the provisional totals of vital events registered during 2011, Registrar General for Scotland George MacKenzie said: “There were more births than deaths in Scotland in 2011, 58,000 against 53,000.
“This is the sixth year in a row we have recorded a natural increase in the population. However, there was a slight fall in the number of births, a trend we have now seen for three years.
“The preliminary number of divorces reported to us has again fallen slightly, this time to 9,814, though the final figure may be a little higher once we get all the late returns. The decline is not unexpected.
“We have seen a drop in the number of divorces each year since a peak in 2006 when the Family Law (Scotland) Act reduced separation periods.
“There were increases in the numbers of stillbirths, infant deaths, adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships formed and civil partnerships dissolved.”