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Mortality Rates

Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 11 October 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the mortality rate among (a) men and (b) women has been in each year since 1976, broken down by socio-economic group. (92032)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 9 October 2006:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the mortality rate amongst a) men and b) women has been in each year since 1976, broken down by socio-economic group. I am replying in her absence. (92032)

Before 2001 ONS reported on socio-economic variations in mortality using the Registrar General’s social class classification (based on occupation of the deceased). Mortality rates by social class have been published by ONS using data from annual death registrations, and population figures from the decennial census. As populations by social class are only available every ten years, mortality rates based on them cannot be calculated every year. Rates for the periods 1970-1972, 1979-1983 and 1991-1993, were published in a table in the ONS Decennial Supplement, Health Inequalities, which is shown in the attached table.

Rates are reported only for men, as over half of deaths of women could not be classified to a social class using their own occupation. As the rates are based on occupations recorded in two different data sources (at death registration and in the census) there was also the potential that differences between the two could affect the results. This potential ‘numerator/denominator bias’ has been limited by restricting analysis to men aged 20-64.

From 2001 onwards the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification (NS-SEC) has replaced social class as the classification used by ONS to routinely report socio-economic status. NS-SEC was also used to code results from the 2001 Census. ONS has not yet published mortality rates by NS-SEC.

European standardised mortality rate by social class, men aged 20 to 64, all causes, England and Wales

Death rates per 100,000 population

Social class

1970-72

1979-831

1991-93

I

Professional

500

373

280

II

Managerial and Technical

526

425

300

IIIN

Skilled (non-manual)

637

522

426

IIIM

Skilled (manual)

683

580

493

IV

Partly skilled

721

639

492

V

Unskilled

897

910

806

England and Wales

624

549

419

1 Excludes deaths in 1981 as the industrial dispute involving Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages in England and Wales produced occupation details of uncertain quality.

Source:

Table 8.5, Health Inequalities, Decennial Supplement No 15, Drever F and Whitehead M (1997) The Stationery Office, London