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Deaths 2015

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There were 30,127 deaths in Ireland in 2015 of which 15,228 were males and 14,899 were females.  This is equivalent to a rate of 6.4 deaths per 1,000 total population, an increase of 0.1 from 2014 and the same rate as 2013.   The crude death rate per 1,000 of population has shown a gradual downward trend since the beginning of the century with significant long-term falls in the death rates particularly at the younger ages.  See tables 3.1, 3.2, fig 3.1 and fig 3.2.

Additionally, significant decreases in the number of deaths due to circulatory disease have been recorded, down from an average of 4.49 per 1,000 of the population in the years 1981-1990 to 2.00 per 1,000 of the population in 2015.  See text table 3.II.

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Total DeathsMaleFemale
20056.876.7
20066.76.96.6
20076.46.66.3
20086.36.56.2
20096.36.56
20106.16.35.9
20116.26.46.1
20126.46.66.1
20136.46.66.3
20146.36.56.2
20156.46.66.3
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Death rate per 1,000 population 2004-2014Death rate per 1,000 population MaleDeath rate per 1,000 population Female
20047.17.46.8
20056.876.7
20066.76.96.6
20076.46.66.3
20086.36.56.2
20096.36.56
20106.16.35.9
20116.26.46.1
20126.46.66.1
20136.46.66.3
20146.36.56.2
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Over 65MaleFemale
200548.038788407060452.154531946508244.8054474708171
200648.102963443651352.212994626282444.7848003101977
200746.410528550201749.594852240228843.887399463807
200845.206696982224148.385006941230942.6569506726457
200943.89857686911247.322064056939541.0908427581175
201042.417475728155344.828620394173140.4046858359957
201141.800225733634343.884057971014540.0793103448276
201241.975241216093244.323786793953940.0067159167226
201341.606701940035343.222222222222240.2287581699346
201440.060280502087541.730450724279538.6251402562331
201540.060280502087541.730450724279538.8

Standardised death rates comparison between EU member states

For comparison purposes between the EU member states, the age effect can be taken into account by using a standard population. The (age) standardised death rate is a weighted average of age-specific mortality rates. The weighting factor is the age distribution of a standard reference population. The standard reference population used is the European standard population as defined by Eurostat in 2012.  The new European Standard Population (ESP) is the unweighted average of the individual populations of EU-28 plus EFTA countries in each 5-years age band (with the exception of under 5 and the highest age group of 95+).  The ESP is calculated on the basis of the 2010-based population projections, averaged over the period 2011-30.

As method for standardisation, the direct method is applied.  Standardised death rates are calculated for the age group 0-64 ('premature death') and for the total of ages.  As most causes of death vary significantly with people's age and sex, the use of standardised death rates improves comparability over time and between countries.

Table 3.I Standardised death1 rates2 in the European Union, 2014
    
Area of residenceDeath rate Area of residenceDeath rate
     
European Union (28 Countries)1,003.06   
     
Belgium970.63 Lithuania1,449.22
Bulgaria1,646.45 Luxembourg917.54
Czech Republic1,237.32 Hungary939.38
Denmark1,028.33 Malta957.96
Germany1,017.07 Netherlands957.96
Estonia1,269.27 Austria957.15
Ireland 2014981.07 Poland1,241.04
Greece966.64 Portugal991.40
Spain837.46 Romania1,531.08
France829.86 Slovenia1,018.63
Croatia1,355.92 Slovakia1,353.43
Italy854.06 Finland994.74
Cyprus979.99 Sweden922.10
Latvia1,502.96 United Kingdom971.17
     
1 ICD10: All causes of death (A00-Y89) excluding S00-T98.
2 Calculated using the European Standard Population projections averaged over the period 2011-30.

The latest available European Union standardised death rates are for 2014 and these rates are presented in table I.  The standardised death rate presented for Ireland for 2014 is 981.07.  This rate is below the standardised rate for the European Union 28 countries for which a rate of 1,003.06 has been calculated.  The Irish standardised death rate in 2014 was above that of the United Kingdom, 981.07 compared with 971.17.  See table 3.I.

Standardised death rates comparison between counties

Variations in the age distribution of the population from one area to another have an effect on the comparability of death rates between different areas.  Comparisons over a period of years are also affected by changes in the age and sex structures of the population.  If a particular county contains a large proportion of elderly persons, the crude death rate per 1,000 of population will be relatively high even if the health conditions in that area are better than the general average.  In an attempt to overcome this, standardised rates are prepared.  For a particular county this is done by calculating the death rate in each age group of the population in that county and multiplying the death rate in each age group by the population in the whole country in that age group, summing the resulting products and dividing by the overall population.

The standardised death rate for Ireland per 1,000 of population in 2015 was 6.4 and the corresponding rate for 2014 was 6.3.  In certain areas the standardised death rates differ significantly from the crude rates, the extremes being Fingal which had a crude death rate of 3.5 and a standardised rate of 5.4 (reflecting the very young age structure in Fingal) and Roscommon where the standardisation had the effect of lowering the crude death rate from 8.1 to 6.2 because of the comparatively older age distribution in that county.

The standardised death rates in 2015 were lowest in South Dublin (at 5.3 per thousand population) and highest in Limerick City (at 8.2 per thousand population).  See table 3.3.

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Causes of Death Male 2015 (%)
circulatory31
malignant
neoplasms
32
respiratory
diseases
12
external6
remainder19
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Causes of Death Female 2015 (%)
circulatory31
malignant
neoplasms
29
respiratory
diseases
13
external3
remainder24

Causes of Death

Of deaths occurring in 2015, 74% were attributed to 3 main chapters in the ICD-10 classification: IX (I00-I99) diseases of the circulatory system (31.1%), II (C00-D48) neoplasms (30.1%), and X (J00-J99) diseases of the respiratory system (12.8%).  A similar overall breakdown is evident for males and females.  See table 3.8.

Within different age groups, there are significant differences in the assigned underlying causes of death. For those aged less than five years of age, the main cause of death was congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities (41.6%).  In this age group 36.1% of male deaths and 48.7% of female deaths were attributed to these causes.  Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period also accounted for a large volume of deaths (40.0%) in this age group.  The numbers of deaths in the 0-4 age group are very much dominated by infant deaths (87.5% aged under 1 year).  See tables 3.9 and 3.10 and chapter 4.

In the age group 5-14, neoplasms were the main underlying cause of death (42.1%) with 42.3% of male deaths and 41.7% of female deaths recorded in this category.  See tables 3.9 and 3.10.

A large proportion of deaths in age groups, from ages 15 to 34, were due to External causes of injury and poisoning (56.6%).   Almost two-thirds (63.7%) of males aged 15 to 34 died due to external causes of injury and poisoning.  The corresponding figure for females was 41.1%.  Additionally, there were almost 2.2 male deaths for every 1 female death in this age group.  External causes of injury and poisoning (43.0%) were also the main causes of death for males aged 35-44, while neoplasms (47.4%) were the main causes of female deaths in this age group.  See tables 3.9 and 3.10.

From 45 to 74 years of age, neoplasms were the main underlying cause of death (47.0%).  Within the female age cohort of 45 to 64 years, 57.8% of deaths were due to neoplasms compared to 40.2% of males in the same age group.  See tables 3.9 and 3.10.

In the older age groups (75 years and over), 22.6% of deaths were due to neoplasms.  See tables 3.9 and 3.10.


Neoplasms

There were 9,072 deaths due to neoplasms in 2015, 2.0 per 1,000 of population.  Of these, 8,877 were due to malignant neoplasms, 4,742 males and 4,135 females.  See tables 3.12, 3.13 and 3.14.


Malignant neoplasm of the digestive organs was the most common of these cancers (31.4%).  Deaths due to cancer of the digestive organs was the most common form of malignant neoplasm in males and females at 34.9% and 27.4% respectively.  Breast cancer was the most common type of malignant neoplasm for females aged between 35 and 54 years at 31.1%.   Cancer was the most common cause of death in females aged from 35 to 74 (52.9%) and in males aged from 45 to 74 (42.8%).  See tables 3.9, 3.10, 3.13, 3.14 and 3.15.


Waterford City had the highest age standardised death rate from cancer, 2.53 per 1,000 of population, while Monaghan had the lowest at 1.55 per 1,000 of population.  See table 3.12.

Table 3.II Standardised death rates per 1,000 population for certain underlying causes of death in each year 1998 to 2015 and annual averages 1951 to 2010
      
   IX Diseases of the circulatory systemX Diseases of the respiratory systemExternal causes of injury and poisoning
   
YearTotalII Neoplasms
      
Number of deaths
      
1951-196035,3754,74512,5143,075959
1961-197033,5145,21714,0753,8901,170
1971-198033,7276,14817,1904,3761,685
1981-199032,3756,88015,7684,3431,519
1991-200031,6467,55113,7684,6881,465
2001-201031,5638,03410,4383,9211,606
199831,5637,55413,2414,8341,614
199932,6087,65113,3805,3911,603
200031,3917,78412,6664,8631,578
200130,2127,73211,8864,4721,648
200229,6837,62111,6524,3441,603
200329,0747,68411,0384,4541,457
200428,6657,91710,6664,0791,420
200528,2607,86110,1494,0481,579
200628,4888,1719,9804,0791,486
200728,1178,1219,9563,3241,759
200828,2748,3899,9563,5221,721
200928,3808,5239,5073,6061,726
201027,9618,3169,5943,2801,660
201128,4568,8719,2363,4381,693
201229,1868,7819,4803,4971,577
201329,5048,9619,4733,5041,491
201429,2529,2188,8523,4921,530
201530,1279,0729,3713,8651,316
      
Rates per 1,000 population
      
1951-196012.21.64.31.10.3
1961-197011.61.84.91.40.4
1971-198010.61.95.41.40.5
1981-19909.22.04.51.20.4
1991-20008.72.13.81.30.4
2001-20106.91.92.50.90.4
19989.02.03.61.30.4
19998.72.03.61.40.4
20008.32.13.31.30.4
20017.92.03.11.20.4
20027.61.93.01.10.4
20037.31.92.81.10.4
20047.12.02.61.00.4
20056.81.92.51.00.4
20066.71.92.41.00.4
20076.41.92.30.80.4
20086.31.92.20.80.4
20096.31.92.10.80.4
20106.11.82.10.70.4
20116.21.92.00.80.4
20126.41.92.10.80.3
20136.42.02.10.80.3
20146.32.01.90.80.3
20156.41.92.00.80.3
      
      
Table 3.III Crude death rates from cancer (C00-C97) per 1,000 population in Ireland and neighbouring countries in each year 1988 to 2015
   England and Wales 
YearIreland*Northern IrelandScotland
    
19882.032.122.852.89
19892.092.212.842.93
19902.032.202.802.93
19912.062.182.812.98
19922.122.202.803.00
19932.122.222.703.00
19942.072.192.703.00
19952.092.122.703.00
19962.042.182.642.96
19972.042.142.602.91
19982.022.102.602.90
19992.012.102.502.90
20002.022.102.402.90
20011.982.192.703.00
20021.922.152.703.00
20031.912.212.643.00
20041.942.202.543.13
20051.872.222.522.97
20061.902.212.252.95
20071.812.202.532.97
20081.832.242.532.95
20091.842.172.502.92
20101.792.232.222.93
20111.942.242.502.92
20121.912.272.512.99
20131.902.332.613.05
20141.962.352.502.96
20151.942.362.493.00
     
* Exclusive of Northern Ireland.

Diseases of the circulatory system

There were 9,371 deaths attributed to diseases of the circulatory system in 2015, of which 4,741 were deaths of males and 4,630 were deaths of females.

Overall, diseases of the circulatory system were the most common causes of death in 2015 (31.1%), 2.00 deaths per 1,000 of population.  Over 73.2% of deaths due to diseases of the circulatory system occurred where the person was aged 75 and over.  For deaths due to circulatory disease in those aged under 75 there were 2.4 male deaths to 1 female death.  See tables 3.9, 3.12 and 3.17.

For deaths caused by diseases of the circulatory system, 47.9% were due to Ischaemic heart diseases, accounting for 55.4% of males and 40.3% of females.   Over a fifth (20.5%) of these deaths were due to cerebrovascular diseases, accounting for 17.5% of males and 23.5% of females.  Acute myocardial infarction accounted for 1,957 of the 4,492 Ischaemic heart disease deaths.  See tables 3.16 and 3.18.

North Tipperary recorded the highest age-standardised death rate for diseases of the circulatory system, 2.81 per 1,000 of population, while South Dublin recorded the lowest at 1.59 per 1,000 of population.  See table 3.12.


Respiratory Diseases

(See causes of death note in Technical Notes in relation to the change in coding rules applied in cases of pneumonia).

Deaths from diseases of the respiratory system in 2015 numbered 3,865, of which 1,855 were males and 2,010 were females.  There were 1,701 deaths (44.0%) from chronic lower respiratory diseases and 1,199 deaths (31.0%) due to influenza and pneumonia.  See table 3.19, 3.20, 3.21 and 3.28.

Diseases of the respiratory system accounted for 12.8% of all deaths (0.82 per 1,000 of population), affecting, in particular the older age groups, with 79.4% of these occurring in persons aged 75 and over.  See tables 3.9, 3.12 and 3.20.

Limerick City recorded the highest age-standardised death rate for diseases of the respiratory system, 1.48 per 1,000 of population, while Fingal recorded the lowest at 0.61 per 1,000 of population.  See table 3.12.


Accidents, poisoning and violence

The number of deaths from external causes of injury and poisoning occurring in 2015 was 1,316, of which 903 were males and 413 females.  As has been mentioned, deaths not registered within the year of occurrence or the subsequent calendar year, have been excluded from the main body of this report. The exclusion of these cases may have a relatively more significant effect on the number of deaths classified to some external causes.  See tables 3.8 and 3.9.


Accidents accounted for 61.9% of all external causes of injury and poisoning while intentional self-harm accounted for a further 32.3%.  Events of undetermined intent accounted for 3.4% while deaths due to assaults accounted for 1.6%.  Complications of medical and surgical care and sequelae of external causes of morbidity and mortality accounted for the remaining 0.8%.  See table 3.22.


Almost 2.2 times as many males died due to external causes compared to females in 2015.  Differences in more specific causes of death and also within different age-groups were also significant.  Just under 1.7 as many males died due to accidents compared to females in 2015.  The majority of accidental deaths in males under 25 years of age were due to transport accidents (40.5%) while the greatest cause of accidental deaths in the male 25 to 54 year age groups was due to poisoning by and exposure to noxious substances (52.2%).  The majority of female accidents occurred in the older age-groups, particularly in females aged 75 and over which accounted for 46.7% of female accidents, 68.1% of these were from falls.  See table 3.23.

Table 3.IV Average annual number of deaths by suicide* for the period 1941-2010 and the number of deaths by suicide in the years 1983-2015 classified by sex
         
YearTotalMaleFemale YearTotalMaleFemale
         
         
Average-        
1941-1950776216 199640934564
1951-1960715615 199747838692
1961-1970645014 199851443381
1971-198014510243 199945535897
1981-199026619868 200048639591
1991-200041833979 200151942990
2001-201049439797 200247838791
198328220280 2003497386111
198423216468 200449340687
198527621660 200548138299
198628321766 200646037981
198724518560 200745836296
198826619571 2008506386120
198927821365 2009552443109
199033425183 201049540590
199134628363 201155445896
199236330459 201254144596
199332726067 201348739196
199439530590 201448639987
199540432183 201542533590
         
* Suicide was decriminalised in Ireland on 1st July 1993

There were 425 deaths due to intentional self-harm in 2015, 335 (or 78.8%) males and 90 (or 21.2%) females.   The highest number of deaths, 89, recorded from intentional self-harm were in the 35-44 age group (20.9%).  There were 87 (20.5%) such deaths in the 45-54 age group. 

Events of undetermined intent accounted for an additional 45 deaths in 2015.  See tables 3.22, 3.23 and 3.24.

Cork City recorded the highest age-standardised death rate for external causes of injury and poisoning, 0.53 per 1,000 of population while Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown recorded the lowest at 0.10 per 1,000 of population.  See table 3.12.


Inquests and post-mortems

The number of deaths on certificates issued by coroners as a result of inquest and post-mortem examinations during 2015 was 4,732 compared with 4,912 in 2014 and 4,904 in 2013.

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Show Table: Table 3.1 Average annual number of deaths for the period 1864-2000 and the number of deaths in the years 1996-2015 classified by sex and age

Show Table: Table 3.2 Average annual death rates for the period 1864-2010 and death rates for the years 1996-2015 per 1,000 corresponding population classified by sex and age

Show Table: Table 3.3 Crude and standardised death rates by area of residence of deceased in 2015

Show Table: Table 3.4 Deaths in 2015 classified by marital status and sex in certain age-groups

Show Table: Table 3.5 Deaths by area in 2015 classified by place of occurrence

Show Table: Table 3.6 Deaths in 2015 classified by area of residence and age-group

Show Table: Table 3.7 Deaths in 2015 in Ireland and Northern Ireland classified by underlying cause of death and with rate per 100,000 population

Show Table: Table 3.8 Deaths in 2015 classified by underlying cause of death and sex

Show Table: Table 3.9 Deaths in 2015 classified by underlying cause of death, sex and age-group

Show Table: Table 3.10 Percentage of deaths in 2015 classified by underlying cause of death, sex and age-group

Show Table: Table 3.11A Deaths in 2015 classified by underlying cause of death, province and sex

Show Table: Table 3.11A (continued) Deaths in 2015 classified by underlying cause of death, province and sex

Show Table: Table 3.11B Deaths in 2015 classified by underlying cause of death, province and sex

Show Table: Table 3.11C Deaths in 2015 classified by underlying cause of death, province and sex

Show Table: Table 3.11D Deaths in 2015 classified by underlying cause of death, region and sex

Show Table: Table 3.12 Standardised death rates per 1,000 population by area of residence of deceased in 2014 for certain underlying causes of death

Show Table: Table 3.13 Deaths from neoplasms (C00-D48) in 2015 classified by underlying cause of death and sex

Show Table: Table 3.14 Deaths from malignant neoplasms (C00-C97) in 2015 classified by underlying cause of death, sex and age-group

Show Table: Table 3.15 Deaths from malignant neoplasms (C00-C97) in 2015 classified by area of residence and underlying cause of death