514,250 in England & Wales in 2004
Age-standardised mortality rate for all causes by sex, England and Wales
In 2004 there were 514,250 deaths registered in England and Wales. Age-standardised death rates for males and females were 7,575 and 5,279 deaths registered per million population, respectively. This represents a fall of 5.4 and 5.5 per cent respectively on the 2003 rates of 8,009 for males and 5,587 for females.
Over the course of the twentieth century, there was a fairly steady fall in these rates. The rate for males fell from 25,829 in 1901 to 8,477 in 2000. The rate for females fell from 21,705 to 5,679 over the same period. This trend has continued in the 21st Century.
Despite the trend, there have been substantial year on year fluctuations mainly due to influenza epidemics and unusually cold winters. Annual variation was particularly great in the first half of the century. The largest annual increase occurred in 1918, when it was estimated that the influenza epidemic that spanned 1918-1919 killed around 150,000 people in England and Wales. The total number of deaths in 1918 was 611,900, with age standardised death rates of 29,086 for males and 20,026 for females.
After the influenza epidemic of 1951, annual fluctuations became substantially smaller. The decline in male mortality was slower during the following 25 years than in the rest of the century, resulting in a widening of the gap between males and females over this period. This gap has subsequently decreased. These changes in relative levels may be due to different trends in smoking among men and women.
The main causes of mortality changed over the twentieth century. The infant mortality rate fell dramatically throughout the twentieth century. Childhood mortality also declined substantially while decreases in the rates for young adults (15-44) were mainly seen in the first half of the century. Well over half of deaths at the beginning of the twentieth century occurred under age 45. Infant mortality accounted for 25 per cent of deaths in 1901, but had fallen to 4 per cent of deaths by the middle of the century and is now less than 1 per cent. In 2004, 4 per cent of deaths occurred at ages under 45.
Deaths at age 75 and over comprised only 12 per cent of all deaths at the beginning of the last century. They rose to 39 per cent in 1951 and 65 per cent in 2004.
Source: Death registrations: Office for National Statistics
Notes: All deaths figures are based on deaths registered in the data year.
The 2004 age-standardised rates have been calculated with the 2004 population estimates published on 25 August 2005. Age-standardised rates are standardised to the European Standard Population, expressed per million population; they allow comparisons between populations with different age structures, including between males and females and over time.