EDINBURGH, October 30, 2002 ( – Scotland’s birth rate has fallen to the lowest point since records were first taken in 1855 – falling from 57,797 in 2000 to 57,382 in 2001. The 2001 census shows that Scotland’s population fell by 2% in the past 20 years.  Registrar General John Randall says, “A declining birth rate means that deaths now exceed births and this is a major factor in explaining why Scotland’s population has declined or increased less strongly than in other countries.”  The number of marriages also fell, from 30,367 in 2000 to 30,058 last year. More than 43% of children were born outside marriage, a key indicator of future social problems stemming from unstable domestic environments.  For BBC coverage see: