Ageing of mortality

Around half a million people die in England and Wales each year. In recent decades the death rate has been falling as people are living longer and the ageing of mortality means that most deaths occur among the old and, increasingly, very old.

The proportion of UK deaths registered to those aged 80 years or over has risen from 21 per cent for males and 43 per cent for females in 1980 to 43 per cent and 62 per cent respectively in 2010.

A recent report by DEMOS predicts that by 2030 people over the age of 65 will account for 86% of deaths. Those over 85 will account for 44% of deaths.

Such deaths often follow a period of increasing deterioration and frailty due to one or more chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, respiratory and neurological disease and, increasingly, dementia. As the UK population continues to age, the importance of good end of life care increases as do the costs and resources required to support this group of very vulnerable patients. This will require major changes in where, by whom and how the dying are cared for.

Select the links below to view the statistics on ageing and mortality.