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More men dying in the UK as a result of alcohol

Released: 26 January 2012 Download PDF

More people in the UK died from alcohol-related deaths in 2010 than in 2009 with the figure rising by 126 to 8,790 from 8,664. However, this increase was limited to males with the number of deaths rising from 5,690 in 2009 to 5,865 in 2010. The number of female alcohol related deaths fell over the same period. Within England and Wales, alcohol-related death rates were highest in the North of England and Wales in 2010.

During the last decade rates were highest for those aged 55-74 and lowest for those aged under 35, according to an Office for National Statistics (ONS) release Alcohol-related deaths in the United Kingdom, 2010.

In 2010:

  • Males accounted for 67 per cent of all  alcohol-related deaths in the UK

  • Male alcohol-related death rates in the North East were 22.6 per 100,000 population, 21.3 per 100,000 in the North West and 18.9 per 100,000 in Wales

  • Alcohol-related death rates were lowest in the East of England, 11.7 per 100,00 population for males and 5.5 per 100,000 for females

Excessive consumption of alcohol is a major preventable cause of premature mortality with alcohol-related deaths accounting for almost 1.5 per cent of all deaths in England and Wales in 2010. In 2008 the Department of Health estimated that alcohol harm cost the National Health Service £2.7 billion each year at 2006/07 prices.

There is widespread interest in the ONS release of these statistics since it allows health administrations to monitor alcohol-related deaths and develop policies to protect the health of the public. Charitable organisations, such as Drinkaware, Alcohol in Moderation and Addaction use the statistics to educate people about the risks associated with alcohol consumption and to target support services to vulnerable groups and to inform public opinion and policy.
The causes of death defined as alcohol-related are listed in full in the bulletin  and include alcohol dependence, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.

Also released today by ONS is Suicide rates in the United Kingdom,2006 to 2010 which reports that in 2010 there were 5,608 suicides in people aged 15 years and over in the UK, 67 fewer than the 5,675 recorded in 2009. The statistics also reveal that in 2010:

  • There were 4,231 suicides among men (17.0 per 100,000 population)

  • There were 1,377 suicides among women (5.3 per 100,000 population)

  • The highest suicide rates were in those aged 45-74, at 17.7 per 100,000 for men and 6.0 per 100,000 for women

Within England and Wales, the highest suicide rate for males in 2010 was in Wales at 19.3 per 100,000. This was 4.2 per 100,000 higher than the rate for England at 15.1 per 100,000. Across the Regions of England, the highest suicide rates for males and females in 2010 were in the South West, North East and North West, although regional rates can fluctuate year on year.

The National Statistics definition of suicide includes deaths given an underlying cause of intentional self-harm or an injury or poisoning of undetermined intent. Suicide statistics provide an indicator of mental health and are important for monitoring trends in deaths resulting from intentional (and probable) self-harm. The statistics are widely used to inform policy, planning and research in both public and private sectors and they enable policymakers and support services to target their resources most effectively.

Background notes

  1. 1.    Statistics on mortality are derived from the information provided when deaths are certified and registered. Further information about the methods and quality of these statistics can be found in the Quality and Methodology Report available here:

  2. 2. ONS holds mortality data for England and Wales. Figures for the UK include data kindly provided by National Records of Scotland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
  3. 3. All rates presented are age-standardised (also known as ‘directly-standardised’) to the European Standard Population. These make allowances for differences in the age structure of the population, over time and between sexes. The age-standardised rate for a particular cause of death is that which would have occurred if the observed age-specific rates for that cause had applied in the given standard population.
  4. 4. Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.
  5. 5. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office.
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  7. 7. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
    © Crown copyright 2012.
  8. Next publication: January 2013
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