In The News

Rise in number of deaths in Northern Ireland

Rise in number of deaths in Northern Ireland

MORE people died in Northern Ireland last year than at any other period since 1999.

Figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency show that 14.968 deaths were recorded during 2013.

Cancer remains the major cause of death with 4,230 people dying from the disease — the highest number on record. This was a 2% increase on 2012 when there were 4,134 deaths.

Lung cancer claimed the highest number of victims last year (969) with breast cancer causing 320 deaths and prostate cancer resulting in 272 deaths.

After cancer, the other major causes of death are heart disease (1,916 deaths) and strokes (1,072). However, fewer people died as a result of heart disease compared to previous years, with better medication and greater awareness of the causes being sited as reasons for the improvement.

The overall number of deaths show that more females passed away (7,707) than males (7,261).

The average age of death has been steadily rising over the last 30 years. Last year it was 76.4, with 64% of all deaths being of people aged 75 and over. Although the number of older people passing away continues to grow, the Statistics & Research Agency points out that this is a consequence of the improvements in mortality over the last 50 years with more people surviving into old age. The Agency also said that as the population survives into older age, deaths due to cancer or dementia are on the increase. The number of deaths attributed to dementia last year was 1,400.

More people are living to 100 or beyond than at any other period on record. Indeed, 108 of the deaths last year were of centenarians — the highest number  ever.

Drug related deaths continue to grow here. The 115 deaths recorded last year represented what the Statistics & Research Agency referred to as a “marked increase” from ten years’ ago when there was 52 such cases.

Alcohol was listed as the cause of death in 236 cases last year. This represented a slight increase but the figures show that over the past ten years, the average number of alcohol-related deaths has been 259 per year.

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