Life and Death

Mapping Life and Death

Use the map selector to access all available maps of Life and Death, or just choose one of these:


This theme covers births, marriages and deaths, including changing causes of death. Unlike most of our themes, it is based not on the Census but on the closely related system for registering births, marriages and deaths, established in 1837.

In this first version of the system, the main emphasis is on infant mortality, the number of children dying before their first birthday as a proportion of all births.

All available maps for the theme Life and Death

Select a particular date to choose a combination of rate, unit type and date.

District/Unitary Authority Government Office Region Administrative County Local Government District Poor Law/Registration County Poor Law Union/Reg. District Registration sub-District
Fertility Rate 1861 - 2011
1861 - 2011
1911 - 1971
1911 - 1971
1871 - 1911
1871 - 1911
1871 - 1881
Illegitimacy Rate N/A N/A 1911 - 1973
1911 - 1973
N/A N/A N/A
Infant Mortality Rate 1861 - 2011
1861 - 2011
1911 - 1973
1911 - 1973
1871 - 1911
1871 - 1911
1871 - 1911
Perinatal Mortality Rate N/A N/A 1958 - 1973
1958 - 1973
N/A N/A N/A
Standardised Mortality Ratio 1861 - 2011
1861 - 2011
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Redistricted data on Life and Death

These notes concern the historical statistics for modern local authorities, which have been created for Vision of Britain by re-districting statistics originally reported for other units. We have also had to deal with variations in the categories and classifications used in statistical reporting over the years.

  • 1861: The counts of births and total deaths in England and Wales come from the table "Marriages, births, and deaths registered in each of the divisions, counties, and districts in 1861", on pp. 30-38 of the Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Registrar-General; infant deaths were added from the table "Deaths at different Ages Registered in the Year 1861--in Districts", on pp. 102-19 of the same report. Births and total deaths for Scottish counties comes from the "Summary table of the births, deaths, and marriages in the divisions and counties of Scotland in 1861, distinguishing the sexes, the number of illegitimate births, the population in 1851 and 1861, the excess of births over deaths, and the number of statute acres in each county", on page 1 of the Seventh detailed annual report of registrar-general of births, deaths and marriages, Scotland Similar counts for towns were added through selective transcription of the data for Registration Districts later in the report. Counts of infant deaths for Scottish counties and principal towns were added from the table of "Deaths at Different Ages in Scotland during the year 1861", on page 30 of the report. Redistricting the Scottish data used a set of approximate boundaries constructed from a variety of sources, including those towns for which occupation data were provided by the 1861 census.
  • 1881: The data on births and on infant deaths in England and Wales come from the sub-District-level table published regularly in the Registrar General's Quarterly Returns, summing over the four quarters of 1881. Fertility rate calculations also use data on Registration District age structure from the 1881 Census of Population. Scottish data are based on the Twenty-seventh detailed annual report of Registrar-General of births, deaths and marriages, Scotland, extracting data for the counties and for the 34 towns for which occupation statistics were published by the 1881 census, which are consequently included in the GIS built for re-districting Scottish 1881 data. The Registrar-General's report lists total numbers of births and deaths in all Registration Districts, so data were extracted for those Districts most closely corresponding to the 34 towns. Numbers of deaths under 1 came from a separate "Table of the ages of all males who died in each of the groups of districts, counties, and principal town districts of Scotland in 1881", and the equivalent table for females, in the same report. In a small number of cases the total number of deaths listed in that table did not match that in the Registration Districts listing, and for these the number of infant deaths was adjusted in proportion to the ratio of the death totals in the two tables. Four towns near Glasgow did not appear at all in the tables of age-specific deaths: Govan, Kinning Park, Maryhill and Partick. Numbers of infant deaths in these were estimated based on their total numbers of deaths, and the proportion that infant deaths were of all deaths in the data in the age-specific tables for "Glasgow (Landward and Suburban)". Once we had numbers of births, deaths and infant deaths for each town, these figures were deducted from the relevant county totals before carrying out the GIS-based redistricting.
  • 1911: The data on births and on infant deaths in England and Wales come from the Local Government District-level table published in the Registrar General's Annual Report for 1911. Fertility rate calculations also use data on Registration District age structure from the 1911 Census of Population. Scottish data are similarly based on the Registrar-General's Fifty-Seventh Detailed Annual Report, using counts for counties and for those burghs for which detailed occupational statistics were reported on by the 1911 census; these data were allocated to parishes in proportion to total population, then re-allocated to modern districts using a parish-level GIS.
  • 1921-1971: The data on births and on infant deaths in England and Wales come from the table covering all individual Local Government Districts published in the Registrar General's Statistical Review, Part I, Medical for each year. The Scottish were computed from the tables giving 'Statistics of Public Health Districts' in the Annual Reports of the Registrar-General for Scotland, providing data for all burghs plus totals for the rural areas of counties; deaths in the latter area were allocated to the individual Districts of County pro rata to total numbers of males and of females as listed in the relevant census reports. Fertility rate calculations also use data on local government district age structure from the relevant Censuses of Population. Scottish data for 1921 are not currently included.
  • 1981-2001: Data for England and Wales were supplied by Paul Norman of Leeds University based on collaborative research with Allan Baker of the Office of National Statistics and Ian Gregory of Lancaster University. Baker had access to individual death records which included postcodes, from which he created counts of the number of infant deaths in each ward as defined for the 2001 Census Access System. For each census year we compute a three-year average so, for example, the counts of births and deaths for 2001 are the average of 2000, 2001 and 2002. We then re-districted from these CAS wards to 2011 local authorities. Data for Scotland are partly from the National Records of Scotland web site and are for Council Areas as defined in 2011, but are currently available only for 2001 and for births in 1991. Counts of infant deaths in 1981 and 1991, and births in 1981, were specially calculated for us by National Records of Scotland, but note that these data are for the single years in question, not three-year averages.
  • 2011: Data for the whole of Great Britain are taken from table 1a in each of the series of annual datasets titled "Deaths Registered by Area of Usual Residence, UK", downloaded from https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/deathsregisteredbyareaofusualresidenceenglandandwales on 22nd January 2017. Due to the small number of infant deaths, a three year moving average is used for both births and deaths, so all the data combine figures for 2010, 2011 and 2012. In the source tables, Hackney and the City of London, and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, are listed as single areas. Separate figures for Hackney and the City have been estimated by assuming that they had the same fraction of each type of event in 2010-12 as they had in 2014, when data were listed separately. The figures for "Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly" have been assigned to Cornwall, leaving the Scilly Isles without data.
  • Standardised Mortality Ratios: These re-state the actual number of deaths in an area as a percentage of the expected number of deaths computed from the age- and sex-structure of the area, as reported by the relevant census and as redistricted by us, and the national death rates for each age- and sex- category in Great Britain in the relevant year. Those rates were specially computed by us using census national totals and age-and sex-specific national death totals reported in the Annual Reports of the Registrars-General for England and Wales and for Scotland.

These selections from historical census reports are on the theme of Life and Death.

CensusArea CoveredReport TitleSection Title
Intro Great Britain Guide to Census Reports: Great Britain 1801-1966 Selected Subjects: Physical and Mental Infirmity
Intro Great Britain Guide to Census Reports: Great Britain 1801-1966 Selected Subjects: Fertility of Marriage
Intro Great Britain Guide to Census Reports: Great Britain 1801-1966 Selected Subjects: Dependency and Orphanhood
1861 England and Wales General Report The Blind and the Deaf-and-Dumb
1871 England and Wales General Report The Blind, Deaf & Dumb, Idiots or Imbeciles, Lunatics, and Inmates
1881 England and Wales General Report Infirmities
1891 England and Wales General Report Physical infirmities
1901 England and Wales General Report, with Appendices Physical Infirmities
1911 England and Wales General Report with Appendices Infirmities
1911 Scotland Occupations by birthplace, Nationalities, Infirmities, Fertility The Infirm
1911 Scotland Occupations by birthplace, Nationalities, Infirmities, Fertility Fertility of Marriage
1921 England and Wales General Report with Appendices Dependency, Orphanhood and Fertility