Key data: mortality

Statistics on mortality

Compiled by Men’s Health Forum, December 2014. Revised January 2017.


  • The mortality rates in England and Wales for males were 1,156.4 deaths per 100,000 population and for females 863.8 deaths per 100,000.
  • In the UK one man in five (19%) dies before the age of 65.
  • The biggest single cause of death in men is cancer. The second major cause of death for men was circulatory diseases.


Mortality rates are higher for men than women.

  • In 2015, the age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) in England and Wales for males and females were 1,156.4 and 863.8 deaths per 100,000 population respectively. (Reference: ONS)
  • Compared to 2014, this is an increase of 3.1% for males and 5.1% for females after several years of falling ASMRs. (With the exception of 2015, mortality rates have generally been decreasing. Between 2002 and 2012 age-standardised mortality rates for males and females declined by 24% and 19% respectively. (Reference: ONS)
  • Male mortality rates were higher than females throughout the 10 year period to 2012, but because rates for males fell at a faster rate, the gap between male and female mortality decreased (Reference: ONS).

Premature mortality

Men are more likely than women to die prematurely. (Reference: ONS).

  • In England and Wales, 19% of all male deaths were aged under 65 (women 12%) and 38% of all male deaths were aged under 75 (women 26%) 
  • Males are more likely than females to die in all age groups under 85 years.
    • The most noticeable gap is in the 15-34 age group. In England and Wales in 2015, 1.65% of all male deaths were in this group compared to 0.75% of all female deaths. Of total deaths in this age group, two-thirds (67%) were male. 

Causes of death

The biggest single cause of death in men (and women) is cancer. It was 31% of all male deaths and 25% of all female deaths registered in 2015. (Reference: ONS)

  • In England and Wales in 2012, the age-standardised male mortality rate for cancer was 340.5 per 100,000 population. 
  • The second major cause of death for men was circulatory diseases (319.4 per 100,000) and the third was respiratory diseases (171.1 per 100,000)


The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.

We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.

Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.

Registered with the Fundraising Regulator