Deaths of homeless people have increased in Scotland, according to the latest official statistics.

The study, by National Records of Scotland show the rate of deaths among homeless people in Scotland is around three times higher than in England.

More than half of the 216 deaths registered for 2019, the last year figures are available for, were attributed to a drug related death.

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The total is an increase of 21 on the previous year and 52 on two years earlier.

The rate per million people for Scotland was 52.2. In England it was 18 and in Wales it was 14.3.

The highest rate in Scotland was in Inverclyde where it was 213 per million of population, followed by  South Ayrshire,120, and North Ayrshire, 111.8.

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In Glasgow the rate was 77 per million, which was a fall from 127 the year before and 80 two years earlier.

The majority of the Scottish deaths were men with 157 deaths and 59 female deaths.

The average age at death in 2019 was 43 years for males and 39 years for females.

The death rate among men increased between 2017 and 2019 for every age group.

Men aged between 35 and 44 were most likely to die accounting for 51 deaths.

For women, there was a rise in deaths among younger age groups, with four deaths aged 15 to 24 compared to zero two years earlier.

There were 17 deaths among 25 to 34 year-olds up from 12 two years before and 25 deaths among 35 to 44 year-olds up from 15 in 2017.

The statistics include people who were in temporary accommodation at the time of their death as well as those who were sleeping rough.

Head of Vital Events a National Records of Scotland, Julie Ramsay said: “Given the importance of having information on the number of homeless deaths in Scotland, we worked with ONS to develop this methodology to provide estimates.

“While these statistics help our understanding of this issue, it’s important to understand these figures are currently experimental and the methodology is under development.

“These estimates do provide context and show that homeless deaths have increased for the second consecutive year, with an 11% increase on the estimate in 2018.”