Overview:

  • the Births and Deaths Registration Act (1836) made it a legal requirement for all deaths to be registered from 1 July 1837

  • the Local Registration Service, in partnership with the General Register Office (GRO), register deaths occurring in England and Wales

  • death registration details are recorded on the Registration Online (RON) system by registrars

  • coding for cause of death is carried out according to the WHO ICD-10 and internationally agreed rules

Mortality statistics represent the number of deaths registered in a particular reference period. They are based on the details collected when deaths are certified and registered.

Published weekly, monthly and annual mortality statistics are based on deaths registered in a particular period, to ensure statistics are timely and accurate. Annual mortality statistics (based on deaths registered in a calendar year) are published in 3 packages. These separate releases are death registration summary tables, series DR and mortality statistics: area of usual residence.

Annual mortality statistics generally cover England and Wales. However, the annual time series data table in the vital statistics: population and health reference tables provides a range of mortality statistics for the UK and its constituent countries, with some measures available back to 1838.

External users of mortality statistics include the Department of Health, who use the data to inform policy decisions and to monitor child mortality, local authorities and government departments, for planning and resource allocation, and the Department of Work and Pensions, who use detailed mortality statistics to feed into statistical models for calculating pensions and benefits.

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