Overview:

  • England and Wales experiences a higher level of mortality in the winter than the summer

  • the annual statistics are published in September, this is about 5 months after the figures have been taken from the deaths registration

  • figures for January to July of the current year are taken from the live death registration database

Research suggest there is Excess Winter Mortality (EWM) in England and Wales compared with other European countries with colder climates. To measure this excess, each year we calculate the number of excess winter deaths and the EWM index. The number of excess winter deaths is a statistical measure of the increase in mortality during winter and is not the number of people who died directly as a result of cold weather.

Figures are broken down by sex, age of the deceased and region of usual residence. The final figures for the previous winter are also included and broken down by sex, age and cause of death.

Our mortality data come from information collected when a death is registered and certified. We code the causes on the death certificate using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Deaths that are certified by a doctor are coded using an automated cause coding system.

The main users of EWM data include the Department of Health, Public Health England, Welsh Government, Primary care organisations, Public health observatories, Local authorities and charities. Elderly people are more vulnerable than others during the winter and specific policies and services are directed to them throughout these months. These data are used to inform policy and monitor these services.

Download this methodology