Causes of death
12. Jun 2020
Fewer cardiovascular deaths– cancer figures unchanged

The past 20 years have seen a big increase in life expectancy and major changes in cause of death.

There have been significant changes in mortality rates over the past two decades.

One of these changes is a continued increase in life expectancy, with the average figure rising from 75.1 years for men and 81.4 years for women in 1998 to 80.4 years for men and 85.3 years for women in 2018.

In other words, life expectancy has increased by just over five years for men and four years for women over a 20-year period.

Significant changes have also occurred in the causes of death. Far more people today die from the traditionally most common cause, cardiovascular diseases, while the figure for the other main cause of death, cancer, has remained relatively unchanged. The causes of death are much more varied today than in 1998.


he latest figures, from 2018, reveal a big difference between the genders, with significantly more men than women dying of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. For other death causes, there is less difference between the genders.

The trend over the past 20 years indicates that for both genders, the biggest change is a significant reduction in the number of cardiovascular disease deaths. At the turn of the century, this figure was 80-90 per year, and now it has come down to 50-60 per year.

The number of cancer deaths has remained largely unchanged. It is, however, worth noticing that the population has grown significantly over this 20-year period, with a particularly big rise in the number of elderly people.



There is now a wider range of death causes, indicated by a big increase in the ‘others’ category, which is now almost as common as the two traditionally most common causes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

For women, the ‘others’ category has now become the most common.

No particular disease dominates the figures in the ‘others’ category. The death causes are just much more varied now than they were 20 years ago.