United Kingdom

Premature death

Key points

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Graph 1: Over time

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Graph 2: By region

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Map

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Download a spreadsheet with the district-level statistics

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Graph 3: By social class

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Graph 4: By cause (men only)

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Graph 5: By social class and cause (men only)

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Why this indicator was originally chosen

Standardised Mortality Rates (SMRs) are a reliable illustrator of overall health inequalities.

There are a variety of ways of presenting SMRs.  The chosen indicator is the proportion of those aged under 65 who die each year, providing an overall indicator of premature death, with the second graph showing the inequalities between different parts of the country.

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Definitions and data sources

The first graph shows the number of deaths of people aged under 65 per 100,000 population aged under 65, with the data shown separately for males and females.

The second graph shows, for the latest year, how the proportion of the population aged under 65 who died varies by region.

The map shows how the proportion of the population aged under 65 who died varies by local authority, with the data averaged for the latest three years.

The data source for the first graph and map is Mortality Statistics Division, ONS (England and Wales) and the General Register Office (Scotland).  The data is not publicly available and relates to Great Britain.  The data for the second graph comes from the same sources but with the addition of Northern Irish data from the Registrar General.  All data has been standardised to a constant European age structure.

The third graph shows how death rates vary by social class, with data for men aged 25 to 64 and for women aged 25 to 59.  The data is the average for 2006 to 2008 and covers England and Wales.  The data source is the ONS publication Health Statistics Quarterly (HSQ), editions 47 - Autumn 2010 (for men) and 52 - Winter 2011 (for women).  The data is the latest publicly available and the age group is the only one for which published data is available.  All data has been standardised to a constant European age structure and the social class allocations are based on the individual's own occupation using the NS-SEC three class scheme.  Note that, as discussed in the relevant HSQ reports, there may be some biases in the data arising from the use of the 2001 Census for the social class population denominators and the way that HSQ treats these possible biases appears to be a bit different for men and for women.  Furthermore, as also discussed in HSQ, the social class allocations for women are less satisfactory than those for men and somewhat different figures are obtained if these allocations are done using a combined classification which also takes the husband's social class into account.

For men, the fourth and fifth graphs provide a further breakdown by cause of death (equivalent figures using the same three-way social class groupings are not available for women).

The fourth graph show the distribution of deaths among men aged 25 to 64 by cause.  The data is for 2010 and covers England and Wales.  The data source is ONS death registrations summary tables.

The fifth graph shows the death rates among men aged 25 to 64 by cause and social class.  The data is the average for 2001 to 2003 and covers England and Wales.  The data source is HSQ edition 38 - Summer 2008.  The data is the latest publicly available and the age group is the only one for which published data is available.

In the fourth and fifth graphs, the grouping of causes is the only groupings for which social class data is available.  Each death has been coded using the Tenth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10), with malignant neoplasms (cancers) being ICD-10 codes C00-D48, heart and other circulatory diseases being codes I00-I99, digestive diseases being codes K00-K93, respiratory diseases being codes J00-J99, external causes being codes U509 plus V01-Y89 and other causes being all the other codes.  All data has been standardised to a constant European age structure.

Overall adequacy of the indicator: medium.  The underlying data are deaths organised according to the local authority area of residence of the deceased by the ONS in England and Wales and by the Registrar General for Scotland.  The data by social class is, however, woefully out-of-date, as it is published only once a decade and is already six years out-of-date when first published.

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External links

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Relevant 2007 Public Service Agreements

Overall aim:  Promote better health and well-being for all

Lead department

Department of Health.

Official national targets

By 2010, increase the average life expectancy at birth in England to 78.6 years for men and to 82.5 years for women monitored using mortality rates as a proxy.

Reduce health inequalities by 10% by 2010 as measured by life expectancy at birth (monitored using AAACM as a proxy).

To reduce reducing adult (16+) smoking rates to 21% or less by 2010, with a reduction in prevalence among routine and manual groups to 26% or less.

Other indicators of progress

Proportion of people supported to live independently.

Access to psychological therapies.

Previous 2004 targets

Substantially reduce mortality rates by 2010:

Reduce health inequalities by 10% by 2010 as measured by infant mortality and life expectancy at birth.

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The numbers

Graph 1

Year Age-standardised deaths per 100,000 population
Men Women
1991 322 191
1992 310 185
1993 308 185
1994 293 177
1995 293 177
1996 290 175
1997 280 172
1998 277 168
1999 270 166
2000 266 165
2001 265 161
2002 260 157
2003 257 157
2004 245 150
2005240 148
2006239 147
2007233 144
2008230 143
2009223 138

Graph 2

Age-standardised deaths per 100,000 population
Region Men Women All
East185 119 152
East Midlands217 139 178
London215 129 172
North East242 151 196
North West258 158 208
Northern Ireland241 151 196
Scotland287 174 230
South East189 119 154
South West197 119 158
Wales238 145 191
West Midlands230 140 185
Yorkshire and The Humber 224 147 186

Graph 3

Social class Death rates per 100,000
Men aged 25 to 64 Women aged 25 to 59
Routine or manual backgrounds415 236
Intermediate backgrounds295 161
Managerial or professional backgrounds188 110

Graph 4

Cause of death among men aged 25 to 64
Neoplasms (cancers)34%
Heart and other circulatory diseases27%
Digestive diseases 10%
Respiratory diseases 6%
External causes 12%
Other causes 11%

Graph 5

Social class Death rates among men aged 25 to 64 per 100,000
Malignant neoplasms (cancers) Heart and other circulatory diseases Digestive diseases Respiratory diseases
Routine or manual backgrounds149 152 37 29
Intermediate backgrounds105 98 23 23
Managerial or professional backgrounds92 74 16 10

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