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Mortality Differentials in Ireland 2016-2017

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Mortality Differentials in Ireland 2016-2017

Analysis based on the census characteristics of persons that died in the twelve month period after Census Day 24 April 2016

Persons in most deprived areas have lowest life expectancy

First Quintile (least deprived)84.487.7
Second Quintile 83.286.5
Third Quintile82.285.7
Fourth Quintile81.984.9
Fifth Quintile (most deprived)79.483.2


The life expectancy at birth of males living in the most deprived areas in the State was 79.4 years in 2016/2017 compared with 84.4 years for those living in the most affluent areas. The corresponding figures for females were 83.2 and 87.7 years (see Table above). The differential between female and male life expectancy (3.8 years) was greatest in the most deprived areas.

Life expectancy at birth is greatest according to the affluence of the area in which the person lived at the time of the 2016 census. This relationship applied for both males and females at ages 0, 20, 35 and 65 years with the exception of males aged 65 in quintiles 3 and 4.  See Table 1.

Life expectancy was also influenced by disability. A 35 year old male with a disability is expected to live a further 39.7 years compared to an expected additional 53.4 years for a 35 year old male without a disability. This differential is evident across all ages and gender.

Life expectancy at birth in the EU-28 was estimated at 81.0 years in 2016, reaching 83.6 years for women and 78.2 years for men. Overall, between 2002 (the first year for which data are available for all EU Member States) and 2016, life expectancy in the EU28 increased by 3.3 years, from 77.7 years to 81.0 years; the increase was by 2.7 years for women and 3.7 years for men.   See link:

This publication is categorised as a Research Paper. Particular care must be taken when interpreting the statistics in this release. There were variations in the matching rate across the various age-groups. In particular there was a significantly lower match rate for deaths in the 20 - 54 year age-groups. This may lead to over-estimation of life expectancy values since the matched mortality records will have less deaths at younger ages than the overall mortality file. Furthermore, since new matching methods, data sources and life table graduation methods have been used in this release, the current statistics are not directly comparable with the previous Mortality Differentials statistics for 2006/2007 or with the Irish Life Tables No. 16 publication. For further information, refer to the Background Notes.


Standardised Death Rate and its interpretation

The standardised death rate (SDR), is the death rate of a population adjusted to a standard age distribution. Variations in the age distribution of the population from one area to another has 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-sex structures of the population. For example, if a particular county contains a large proportion of elderly persons, the crude death rate per 100,000 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.

Per Table 4(a), the standardised death rate of professional workers is calculated at 494 per 100,000 persons while the standardised death rate for unskilled workers is higher at 796 per 100,000. This means that having adjusted for the different age structures in the two groups the death rate for professional workers is lower than for unskilled workers. The standardised death rate is a synthetic measure that allows for comparison of death rates. While crude death rates are not directly comparable, the standardised death rate is comparable.

Social class

Managerial and technical staff together with professional workers, have the lowest mortality rates – 482 and 494 respectively per 100,000 persons, while unskilled workers have a higher mortality rate, 796 per 100,000 persons. This pattern is reflected across both male and female mortality rates.  See Table 4(a).


Protestant adherents had a lower mortality rate in 2016 than Roman Catholics – 563 per 100,000 compared with 660.  See Table 4(a).

Disability and Carers

Not surprisingly, persons who, according to their responses to the two disability questions on the 2016 Census form, that indicated that they had a disability, experienced mortality rates which were a multiple of approximately four times the mortality rates of those without a disability, (1,232 compared to 302 per 100,000 persons).  See Table 4(a).

Standardised death rates were significantly lower among carers than for those who did not provide regular unpaid help for a friend or family member with a long-term illness, health problem or disability.  See Table 4(b).

Marked difference in mortality rates by marital status

Among those aged 15 years and over, married persons had the lowest mortality rate of 699 per 100,000 persons. Single persons had a higher mortality rate at 972 per 100,000 persons while the mortality rate for widowed persons was 978 per 1000,000 persons.  See Table 4(b).

Level of education

The higher the level of education recorded, the lower the standard mortality rate. The mortality rate for those that had a third level education was 619 per 100,000 persons, compared to 1,195 per 100,000 persons for those that ceased education at primary level and 818 per 100,000 persons for those that ceased at secondary level. This pattern is reflected across both male and female mortality rates.  See Table 4(c).

Galway and Dublin cities and their suburbs enjoy lowest mortality rates

Galway city and suburbs had the lowest standardised mortality rate in the country, 484 per 100,000 persons. Dublin City and suburbs which accounted for around a quarter of the population that was resident at their place of usual residence on Census night had the second lowest standardised mortality rate of 596 per 100,000 compared to 768 per 100,000 of those living in towns with between 1,500 and 9,999 persons. 

Male mortality rates exceeded female rates in every area type. However, it should be borne in mind that the rates are sensitive to small movements in the number of deaths classified by age-group recorded in these area types.

The results of the area based analysis of mortality rates by deprivation show a mortality rate of 510 per 100,000 persons in the least deprived quintile to 815 per 100,000 persons in the most deprived quintile. This pattern was reflected in the corresponding figures for males and females. The mortality rate ranged from 536 per 100,000 males in respect of the least deprived areas compared to 846 per 100,000 for those males living in the most deprived areas. Consistent with the life expectancy data quoted earlier, standardised death rates increased with increasing deprivation for both males and females.   See Table 4(d).

Owner occupiers fare best

For those that stated the nature of occupancy of private households, mortality rates for persons living in owner occupied dwellings were the lowest of all housing tenure categories. The mortality rate was 494 per 100,000 persons for those in owner occupied households compared to 786 per 100,000 in respect of those in rented (from local authorities or voluntary bodies) accommodation.  See Table 4(e).

Persons in private rented accommodation were next highest, while those in rented accommodation provided by Local Authorities or Voluntary Bodies fared worst of all. On average their mortality rates were 59.1 per cent higher than those in owner occupied dwellings.

Persons living in accommodation without central heating experienced a mortality rate which was significantly higher than that for persons living in centrally heated dwellings (638 compared with 512 per 100,000 persons). Male mortality rates exceeded those for females for all categories of housing tenure and for the central heating variable. 

See: Background notes.

Show Table: Table 1 Life expectancy by sex at various ages by area of deprivation (quintiles), 2016

Show Table: Table 2 Life expectancy by sex at various ages by religion 2016

Show Table: Table 3 Life expectancy by sex at various ages by disability, 2016

Show Table: Table 4 Standardised death rates by sex for selected variables, 2016

Published 28 June 2019, 11am