olihawkins

Animating mortality in England and Wales

8 Apr 2018 19:31 GMT

From around 1970 to 2011 there was a broad downward trend in mortality in England and Wales: both the the total number of deaths and the crude death rate (the number of deaths per thousand people) fell.

Since 2011 this long-term downward trend has halted and both the number of deaths and the crude death rate have increased.

Two charts showing the annual number of deaths and the number of deaths per thousand people in England and Wales from 1970 t0 2016.

These charts show trends in mortality from 1970 to 2016. But they do not include data for 2017 or 2018, as neither the final totals nor the population estimates needed to calculate mortality rates have been published for these years.

A more fine-grained and up to date analysis of recent trends in mortality can be produced using Office for National Statistics figures for the number of weekly deaths registered in England and Wales during the last few years.

This dataset provides the most recent statistics on deaths but comes with the caveats that the figures are provisional and are not normalised to the total population.

Animated chart

This animated chart shows the number of deaths registered in England and Wales in each week of the year for each calendar year from 2011 to 2017, and so far in 2018.

As the chart shows, the number of weekly deaths has gradually increased: the darker lines showing data for more recent years are generally higher than the lighter lines showing data for earlier years.

Some of this increase may be explained by the growing population, but the larger number of winter deaths in 2015, 2017 and 2018, and the rising death rate before 2016 suggest this may not be the only factor.

I thought this was a novel way of presenting the data, and potentially a good use case for animation.