UK life tables

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The life tables used to compensate for background mortality rates in relative survival analysis comprise a set of mortality rates by single year of age, generally 0-99 years, for each sex. Life tables are derived from mortality data (number of deaths, population, by age and sex) for a given calendar period, in a given country or region. They may also be specific for a particular group defined by socio-economic deprivation, race or ethnicity.

The life tables we have constructed for use in survival analyses for England and Wales contain age-sex-mortality rates for various indices of deprivation, by region and calendar year or period. National life tables for Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland are also available.

Variables included in the life tables are:

Sex Males, Females
Age Single year of age at death – 0, 1, … 98, 99
Rate Central mortality rate, expressed as a real fraction to 7 decimal places, e.g. 0.0123456 means a mortality rate of 1,234.56 per 100,000 per year
Calendar year Central year of derivation – 1971, … 2009
Country England and Wales, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales
GOR Government Office Region – A (North East), B (North West), D (Yorkshire and The Humber), E (East Midlands), F (West Midlands), G (East of England), H (London), J (South East), K (South West)
Quintiles Quintile of deprivation score – 1 (most affluent), 2, 3, 4, 5 (most deprived)

A wide range of life tables containing mortality rates by sex and single year of age (0-99) can be downloaded from this page. Life tables are available for England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, at various levels of geographic detail, centred on various calendar years or periods from 1971 to 2009 and, for England and Wales, for each of five groups defined by socio-economic deprivation. Life tables are not available for every combination of parameters.

The life tables published in 2012 have been constructed using 3 years of deaths data centred around each census year (1971, 1981, 1991, 2001) and 2009, together with the census population or Office for National Statistics (ONS) mid-year population estimate. We used flexible link functions in a Poisson setting to model the mortality rates. Non-census year life tables are obtained by interpolation of the census year life tables.

All life tables are held in comma-separated value (CSV) text files and contain variables indicating the country, year of derivation, geography, deprivation quintile, exact age, sex and central (m-type) mortality rate.

Mortality rates for England and Wales originate from national death registrations and decennial census population or ONS mid-year population denominators.


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