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What do we die from?

We look at the leading causes of deaths registered in England and Wales by age and sex in 2014.

There were 501,424 deaths registered in 2014, this represents a decrease of 5,366 deaths compared with 2013, a fall of 1.1%.

Top 5 leading causes of death account for 41% of all deaths

Ischaemic heart diseases continue to be the leading cause of death in England and Wales, accounting for 12.1% of deaths registered in 2014, compared with 19.9% in 20011.

Figure 1: Number of deaths from top 5 leading causes, 2014

England and Wales

Figure 1: Number of deaths from top 5 leading causes, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Causes of death were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Groups here are based on a list developed by the WHO, modified for use in England and Wales.
  2. Please click for larger image.

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Dementia and Alzheimer disease has been the second leading cause of death since 2011 in England and Wales (10.3% of deaths in 2014, 7.8% in 2011 and 3.2% in 2001). Some of the rise since 2001 is due to an update to the coding framework used for cause of death and a better understanding of dementia; a consequence of the latter is likely to be increased reporting of dementia on death certificates.

Cerebrovascular diseases, which includes strokes, were the third leading cause of death in 2014. Lung cancer was fourth. Fifth was Chronic lower respiratory diseases (which includes emphysema/bronchitis).

Twice as many women died from dementia and Alzheimer disease than men

Heart diseases were the leading cause of death for men in 2014 (14.8% of male deaths), while for women it was dementia and Alzheimer disease (13.4% of female deaths).

The number of deaths attributable to these top 2 leading causes of death differs significantly for men and women. For every 100 women who died of heart diseases, 150 men died. But, for every 100 women dying from dementia and Alzheimer disease, 50 men died.

Studies suggest biological and behavioural reasons for the higher number of male deaths from heart diseases, such as a higher percentage of men who smoke and drink. In addition, men are less likely than women to visit the doctor, leading to later diagnosis and treatment. Studies have also linked oestrogen in pre-menopausal women to the lower incidence of heart disease in women.

The likelihood of developing dementia and Alzheimer disease increases with age. As female life expectancy is greater than male life expectancy, women are more likely to survive to older ages, where they are at increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer disease. Scientists have shown, however, that even when correcting for age, women are at greater risk from dementia and Alzheimer. It is not yet clear why.

1 in 1,000 deaths were among children aged 1 to 4 in 2014

Figure 2: Top 5 leading causes of death for 1 to 4 year olds, 2014

England and Wales

Figure 2: Top 5 leading causes of death for 1 to 4 year olds, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Causes of death were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Groups here are based on a list developed by the WHO, modified for use in England and Wales.
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Around 0.1% of all deaths were among children aged 1 to 4 (271 boys and 198 girls). The leading cause of death at this age (13.7% of boys and 13.1% of girls) was congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities (including congenital heart defects and Down’s Syndrome). These conditions are usually present at birth, or develop shortly after. 

Land transport accidents leading cause of death for females aged 5 to 19

Figure 3: Top 5 leading causes of death for 5 to 19 year olds, 2014

England and Wales

Figure 3: Top 5 leading causes of death for 5 to 19 year olds, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. In England and Wales, verdicts of suicides cannot be returned for children under the age of 10 years.
  2. Causes of death were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Groups here are based on a list developed by the WHO, modified for use in England and Wales.
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In 2014, 871 boys and 542 girls died aged 5 to 19. Suicide, including injury or poisoning of undetermined intent, combined with land transport accidents, accounted for 1 in 4 deaths among males and 1 in 5 deaths among females in this age group in 20142Worldwide, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 29.

Nearly 4 times as many men aged 20 to 34 died as a result of suicide and injury or poisoning of undetermined intent than women

Figure 4: Top 5 leading causes of death for 20 to 34 year olds, 2014

England and Wales

Figure 4: Top 5 leading causes of death for 20 to 34 year olds, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Causes of death were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Groups here are based on a list developed by the WHO, modified for use in England and Wales.
  2. Please click for larger image.

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Twice as many men than women died at ages 20 to 34 in 2014 (3,678 men and 1,832 women). Suicide, including injury or poisoning of undetermined intent, was the leading cause of death for persons aged 20 to 34 (23.6% of men and 13.2% of women).

For both sexes, accidental poisoning was also a highly common cause of death, followed by land transport accidents.

Breast cancer leading cause of death for women aged 35 to 49

Figure 5: Top 5 leading causes of death for 35 to 49 year olds, 2014

England and Wales

Figure 5: Top 5 leading causes of death for 35 to 49 year olds, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Causes of death were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Groups here are based on a list developed by the WHO, modified for use in England and Wales.
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Nearly two-thirds of deaths at ages 35 to 49 in 2014 were to men (10,407 male deaths and 6,609 female deaths).

Breast cancer was the leading cause of death for women, accounting for 13.6% of female deaths in this age group. Although breast cancer was the leading cause of death for women in this age group, breast cancer deaths among women aged 15 to 49 account for 9.7% of all female breast cancer deaths overall.

Suicide remains the leading cause of death for men aged 35 to 49, accounting for 12.6% of male deaths. Heart diseases were one of the leading causes of death for both men (second) and women (fifth) in this age group.

Heart diseases leading cause of death for men aged 50 and over and lung cancer leading cause of death for women aged 50 to 64

Figure 6: Top 5 leading causes of death for 50 to 64 year olds, 2014

England and Wales

Figure 6: Top 5 leading causes of death for 50 to 64 year olds, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Causes of death were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Groups here are based on a list developed by the WHO, modified for use in England and Wales.
  2. Please click for larger image.

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In 2014, 31,054 men and 21,034 women died aged 50 to 64. At these ages, the leading causes of death for both men and women were long-term diseases and conditions. Lung cancer was the number one cause for women aged 50 to 64, accounting for 11.7% of deaths in this group. Breast cancer was the second leading cause of death for women aged 50 to 64, accounting for 10.6% of deaths in this group.

For males, heart disease was the leading cause of death at ages 50 to 64, ages 65 to 79 and ages 80 and over. The number of male deaths from suicides has decreased at these ages while deaths from other diseases and conditions increase.

Figure 7: Top 5 leading causes of death for 65 to 79 year olds, 2014

England and Wales

Figure 7: Top 5 leading causes of death for 65 to 79 year olds, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Causes of death were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Groups here are based on a list developed by the WHO, modified for use in England and Wales.
  2. Please click for larger image.

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Heart diseases remain the leading cause of death for men aged 65 to 79 accounting for 16.0% of male deaths. Lifestyle choices and other conditions can lead to heart disease, such as: smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. For women, lung cancer remains the leading cause of death and accounts for 10.6% of all female deaths at this age. Dementia and Alzheimer disease (ranked sixth for this age group in 2013) replaced breast cancer as the fifth leading cause of death for women in 2014, accounting for 5.4% of female deaths at ages 65 to 79.

Dementia and Alzheimer disease leading cause of death for women aged 80 and over

Figure 8: Top 5 leading causes of death for ages 80 and over, 2014

England and Wales

Figure 8: Top 5 leading causes of death for ages 80 and over, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Causes of death were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Groups here are based on a list developed by the WHO, modified for use in England and Wales.
  2. Please click for larger image.

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At ages 80 and over, deaths to women exceed those to men, with 114,600 male deaths and 162,715 female deaths in 2014. Dementia and Alzheimer disease was the leading cause of death for women aged 80 and over, accounting for 19.0% of deaths. It was also the second leading cause for men, causing 12.3% of deaths in this age group.

The leading cause of death for men aged 80 and over was heart diseases, accounting for 14.3% of deaths. This was the second leading cause for women, causing 10.3% of deaths.

Where can I find out more about leading causes of death statistics?

The complete data for this release (37.5 Kb Excel sheet) is available on our website. The leading causes of death in the world for 2002 and 2012 can be found on the World Health Organization website.

If you have any comments or suggestions, we’d like to hear them! Please email us at: vsob@ons.gsi.gov.uk

 

Notes:

  1. We have used the World Health Organization's (WHO) Tenth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) for coding cause of death since January 2001. Between January 2001 and December 2010, the Mortality Medical Data System (MMDS) ICD-10 version 2001.2 software provided by the United States National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) was used to code cause of death. In January 2011, this was updated to version 2010, which incorporated most of the WHO amendments authorised up to 2009.On 1 January 2014, ONS changed the software used to code cause of death to a package called IRIS (version 2013). The development of IRIS was supported by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, and is now managed by the IRIS Institute hosted by the German Institute of Medical Documentation and Information in Cologne. IRIS software version 2013 incorporates all official updates to ICD-10 approved by WHO, which were timetabled for implementation before 2014.

  2. The definition for suicides used here includes deaths from children aged 10 and over. From the ages 10 to 14 the cause of death would be Intentional self-harm and for those aged 15 and over it would be Intentional self-harm and event of undetermined intent.

Categories: Population, Deaths, Mortality Rates, Death Registrations, Causes of Death, Health and Social Care, Health of the Population
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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