Wednesday, July 13, 2016

England's Rising Death Rates

Death rates in England and Wales increased by 5.6% in 2015 compared to the previous year. The ONS is attributing this increase to rises in dementia and Alzheimer’s and a flu virus which predominantly affected older people. However others have argued that the UK's government's austerity programme has played a major role in the worsening overall health of the UK population.

The UK's Office for National Statistics has published an interactive Leaflet map which allows you to examine the age-standardised mortality rate in each local authority area in England & Wales for the years 2001-2015. The ASMRs by Local Authority District map is a choropleth map which shows the mortality rate in each local authority area for each year.

If you select an area on the map you can view a line graph in the map sidebar showing the mortality rate in the area for 2001-2015.The North East of England has the highest ASMR and the South East has the lowest. As the ONS points out "higher levels of deprivation are present in the north of England and ... increased mortality rates for many causes of death have long been associated with higher levels of deprivation".

Danny Dorling of Oxford University has gone a little further than the ONS in directly attributing the rising death rates in England and Wales in part to the Conservative government's Austerity policies. In Brexit: The Decision of a Divided Country Dorling claims that,
 "Austerity had a major role, with people who had long term care needs dying earlier. ... The underlying reason for worsening health and declining living standards was ... ever growing economic inequality and the public spending cuts that accompanied austerity".

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