The UK’s Mortality Rates

Briefing note from Finders International

Since 2011, the number of deaths and the crude death rate in the UK have increased.

A recent Commons Briefing looked at mortality rates in the UK. There has been a long-term downward trend in the number of deaths. The recent increase is attributed to population growth. In early 2015, 2017 and 2018, winter mortality rates were higher than usual, as the weekly death numbers revealed.

The improvement in life expectancy has slowed in recent years for men and women though estimates of life expectancy haven’t fallen compared to earlier periods. In 2014-16, life expectancy at birth and at 65 was highest for women in London and for men living in the south east. It was lowest for both men and women in Scotland.

In England and Wales, the number of deaths and the crude death rate reached their lowest level since 1961 in 2011, when there were 484,000 deaths and the crude death rate was 8.6 deaths per thousand people.

Since the year 2011, total numbers of deaths and the crude death rate increased—525,000 deaths and 9 deaths per 1,000 people in 2016. Other than in 2015 when deaths reached 530,000 and the crude death rate 9.2, the 2016 figures are the highest levels since 2011.

Most of the increase in deaths in 2015 took place during the first few months of the year. Figures from the time showed an increase in hospital admissions for flu and outbreaks of the virus in care homes. In addition, the number of deaths were dementia or Alzheimer’s is the underlying cause have grown over the year 15 years.

In 2016, life expectancy at birth was highest for women in Camden (86.8) and men in Kensington and Chelsea (83.7). The lowest life expectancy was for women in West Dunbartonshire (78.8) and men in Glasgow (73.4).

In Scotland, the number of deaths and the crude death rate reached its lowest levels since 1961 in 2011, although this was still higher than England Wales. Both rates increased since then.

In Northern Ireland, the same story applies—a fall in mortality rates from 1961 to 2011 and then an increase.

Mortality statistics are the number of deaths in a population during a given period. The figure is affected by a population’s size, age structure and prevailing risks of dying so the number is adjusted. The simplest adjusted rate is called the crude death rate, the number of deaths per 1,000 people, which adjusts for population size but not its age structure.

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