death rate

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death rate:

see vital statisticsvital statistics,
primarily records of the number of births and deaths in a population. Other factors, such as number of marriages and causes of death, by age groups, are regularly included.
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death rate


mortality rate

the number of deaths per 1000 people in the population in a year – the crude death rate. Over the last 100 years the risk of death in the UK has been significantly reduced, particularly in the first few years of life. There is also a significant difference between the death rates of males and females according to age. In the UK, in 1961, the death rate for males under the age of one year was 24.8 compared with 19.3 for females. In 1986, the figures had fallen to 10.9 and 8.1 respectively Similarly, the death rate for men over the age of 85 in 1961 was 258.6, and 215.9 for women. In 1986 these had fallen to 217.1 and 172.4 respectively See also BIRTH RATE, STANDARDIZED MORTALITY RATIO, DEMOGRAPHY, LIFE EXPECTANCY.

Death Rate


the decrease in population resulting from death; in medical statistics, the number of deaths occurring in a country, city, or region. The death rate is generally determined by the number of deaths occurring during a given period (usually one year) per 1,000 population.

A distinction is made between the crude death rate and infant mortality and between death rate and lethality. The death rate varies at different ages. The highest rates occur among children under one year of age and persons over 70; the lowest rates occur among children 11 to 13 years of age. Together with the birth rate, infant mortality, and life-span, the death rate is an index of the natural movement of population; it also gives information about the population’s health.

The death rate depends on socioeconomic conditions and on the degree to which science and public health have developed. Thus, as recently as the early 20th century the principal causes of death throughout the world were infectious diseases. Beginning in the mid-20th century, the major cause of death in the economically developed countries, including the USSR, has been noninfectious pathology. In the developing countries the determining factors continue to be infectious and parasitic diseases.

In prerevolutionary Russia (1913), the death rate was twice that of the USA and many European countries. Between 1926 and 1960 the death rate in the USSR decreased from 20.3 to 7.1 per 1,000 population, or almost by two-thirds. During the 1960’s the USSR’s crude death rate became stabilized, and beginning in 1965 this rate showed a gradual increase: 7.3 per 1,000 population in 1965, 7.7 per 1,000 in 1968, 8.2 per 1,000 in 1971, and 8.7 per 1,000 in 1973. This is linked to an increase in the proportion of elderly persons in the population. For example, according to the 1959 census, persons 60 years of age and older accounted for 9.4 percent of the population, whereas the figure for 1970 was 11.8 percent. Between 1959 and 1970 the total population of the USSR increased by 16 percent, whereas the number of persons aged 60 and older increased by 45 percent. This has led to an increase in the ratio of deaths from chronic diseases.

Approximately one-half of the crude death rate in the economically developed countries is accounted for by cardiovascular diseases, and about one-fifth by malignant tumors. The death rate from injuries and accidents is also significant. In the USSR the death rates for cardiovascular diseases were as follows: 247.3 deaths per 100,000 population in 1960, 313.2 per 100,000 in 1965, and 404 per 100,000 in 1972. The increase is caused both by a true increase in the death rate within individual age groups (primarily those of middle age) and by the higher average age of the population. The age-specific rates of death caused by malignant tumors exhibit no tendency to increase; however, the higher average age of the population has led to an increase in the death rate from such tumors: 115.5 deaths per 100,000 population in 1960, 123.6 per 100,000 in 1965, and 129.6 per 100,000 in 1971–72.

In the USSR in 1971–72, the death rate for the urban population was 7.6 per 1,000 population, and for the rural population, 9.4 per 1,000 population. In rural areas, the death rates for age groups below 50 were higher than corresponding rates in cities; for groups over 50 the rates in rural areas were lower than in cities.

The crude death rate is gradually increasing in all the economically developed countries. Thus, between 1961 and 1971 the rate in the Federal Republic of Germany increased from 10.9 to 11.9 per 1,000 population, and in Sweden from 9.8 to 10.2 per 1,000 population. In the USA, Great Britain, and France the crude death rate has stabilized at a high level; by 1971 it amounted to 9.3,11.6, and 10.8 per 1,000 population, respectively.


Urlanis, B. Ts. Rozhdaemost’i prodolzhitel’nost’ zhizni v SSSR. Moscow, 1963.
Bednyi, M. S. Demograficheskie protsessy i prognozy zdorov’ia naseleniia. Moscow, 1972.


death rate

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