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Men twice as likely as women to die from alcohol-related causes

Released: 29 January 2013 Download PDF

Men in the UK died from alcohol-related causes at more than double the rate of women in 2011 according to an Office for National Statistics (ONS) publication released today, Alcohol-related deaths in the United Kingdom, 2011

The number of male deaths per 100,000 population was 17.2 compared with 8.3 deaths per 100,000 among women. The greater proportion of deaths among men in comparison with women has been a long standing trend, with no significant changes between 2010 and 2011. 

The number of men in England dying from alcohol-related causes rose by 1.4% to 4,503 between 2010 and 2011.The number of female deaths increased by 1.8% (2,230 to 2,272) on the previous year. Across the English regions, there was a north-south divide in alcohol-related death rates with the North West having the highest rates for men and women. For men, the rate was highest in the North West at 22.9 per 100,000 and lowest in the East of England at 11.8 per 100,000 in 2011. For women the rate was highest in the North West at 10.8 per 100,000 and lowest in London at 5.3 per 100,000.

Women in Wales are more likely to die from an alcohol-related cause than women in England. The alcohol-related death rate for women in Wales was significantly higher than that of women in England (9.5 per 100,000 population compared with 7.6 deaths per 100,000 respectively). Data over the last ten years show an increase in alcohol-related deaths for women in England and in Wales, with rates peaking in 2007 and 2008 respectively. There has been no significant improvement in rates since these years.

The report also shows that improvements in alcohol-related deaths rates were more rapid among men in Wales than in England. For men in both countries, alcohol-related death rates rose between 2002 and 2008 where figures peaked. However, while there has been a decline in rates for men in Wales from 21.4 deaths per 100,000 population in 2008 to 17.0 deaths per 100,000 in 2011, there has been no significant change in the rates for men in England over the same period. This fall in male death rates in Wales and stable trend in England means that the rate for men in Wales is no longer significantly higher than that of men in England.

A previous study by ONS showed that alcohol-related deaths also varied by socioeconomic class, with women in routine jobs such as cleaners and sewing machinists 5.7 times more likely to die from an alcohol-related disease than women in higher professional jobs such as doctors and lawyers. Similarly, men in routine jobs are 3.5 times more likely to die from an alcohol-related disease than their counterparts in higher managerial and professional jobs.

These figures on alcohol-related deaths are used to monitor and develop policies to protect the health of the public and assist people to live longer and healthier lives. In 2008 the cost to the National Health Service from alcohol-related illnesses was estimated to be £2.7 billion (2006/7 prices).

The National Statistics definition of alcohol-related deaths only includes those causes being most directly due to alcohol consumption such as chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. It excludes external causes of death such as road traffic and other accidents and diseases where alcohol has been shown to have some causal relationship, such as cancers of the mouth, oesophagus and liver.

For the for report see:

Background notes

  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. 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. Both age-specific and age-standardised (also known as directly standardised) rates are presented in the bulletin. Where rates have been standardised this has been done using 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. Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.

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