Q1 Mortality Rates Drop Significantly Below Five-Year Average

Deaths registered in the opening quarter of 2019 have significantly decreased by 14% since the same period in 2018.

The 134,337 deaths registered in the opening quarter of 2019 represented 5,497 fewer deaths than the five-year average. As the current figure is more than a 5% decrease, it is considered statistically significantly decreased.

Since 2001, mortality rates have fallen from 1,394 deaths per 100,000 to 1,017 deaths per 100,000 in 2019.

The recent figures, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), have overturned a statistical two-year increase. Between January to March 2018, the number of deaths registered in England reached 153,717, more than any figure recorded during the same time frame over the past five years.

Recorded at 1,187 deaths per 100,000 people, the rise in the rate of mortality was described as ‘statistically significant’, having grown by 5% compared to the same period during 2017. The ONS also noted that this was the highest rate since 2009.

Whilst mortality rates have shown a sharp decline in 2019, since 2011, death rates have fluctuated massively in the opening quarter of the year.

Last year, the UK was bombarded with extreme weather conditions in February and March with record levels of snow falling in February contributing to the huge increase in deaths. However, a mild winter in the opening quarter of the year has been an attributing factor in the reduction in deaths this year.

The Met Office reported that the mean temperature in February and March was 6.5 degrees Celsius and 7.7 degrees Celsius respectively. This is 2 degrees Celsius higher than the February average of 4.6 degrees and over 1 degree higher than March’s average of 6.5 degrees census.

The Met Office also found that February 1st 2019 was battered with the lowest temperature in the opening quarter of 2019, resulting in 108 more deaths than the five-year average.

The report has also highlighted that influenza rates were also unseasonably low in 2019, peaking at 23.1 deaths per 100,000 in week commencing 7 February of 2019. In comparison 54.1 deaths per 100,000 were lost to influenza during the peak week in the opening quarter of 2018.

Read the full report here.