Figures on the UK death rate

Posted: 12/12/2017

It is common knowledge that death is inevitable. In this guide, we will be discussing the death rate specific to the United Kingdom, how many people die a year on average and the most common causes of death. Statistics found in reports by the Office for National Statistics on

In 2016, England and Wales saw 525,048 registered deaths – which is a decrease of 0.9% after a large increase seen in 2015. There was an increase in deaths occurring between the ages of 65 to 74 compared to 2015, and fewer deaths for those 75 and over.

Furthermore, in the same year, we saw a decrease in the number of deaths under the age of 20, compared to 2015. The number deaths that happened between the ages of 20 and 64 saw an increase in 2016.

Causes of Death


A baby born in today’s world is expected to live a healthier and longer life than at any other point in history. A Government report, Living Well for Longer, attributed the top five killers for a huge 150,000 number of deaths per annum among under 75-year-olds in England alone.


In the UK in 2016, Cancer, unfortunately, remained the most common broad cause of death making up 28.5% of all deaths which were registered. Research has shown that the mortality rates attributed to cancer have increased for women more than for men. However, cancer is still a bigger killer of men than it is women despite this increase with it accounting for 30.8% of all male deaths and 26.2% of female deaths which were registered in 2016. It has been found that almost every case of lung cancer is as a result of smoking, a poor diet has been linked to bowel cancer and heavy drinking has been found to have strong links to breast cancer.

Circulatory diseases

Circulatory diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, remained steady as the second most common broad cause of death. Circulatory diseases were responsible for just over a quarter (25.5%) of all deaths in the last year. Lung disease was also named one of the top killers of 2016, alongside liver disease.


Dementia has also been named a leading cause of death in the UK. In fact, in 2016 the figures show that Dementia has overtaken heart disease as a cause of death in England and Wales. In 2016, more than 61,000 people died as a result of dementia, making up 11.6% of all recorded deaths. The Office for National Statistics has stated that they believe this change has come about due to an ageing population.

Dying of Old Age?


You may have heard the phrase “died of old age”. Some experts are claiming that this is not a possible cause of death, only that their age meant that their bodies could not fight off infection properly, for example. It has been put like this: Living cells have a finite lifespan, but that does not mean they die because the cells get old. Instead, things such as disease, genetic mutation and environmental effects that may cause damage can foster a disorder. As people grow older, their cells do not function as well as they did before, leaving room for disease and the like to harbour, and they would struggle to heal as well. Nothing can die from simply being old – there have to be other contributing factors.

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