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The Administrative Data Research Network is an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 - July 2018. It is currently at the end of its funding cycle and is no longer taking applications. Administrative data research will be taken forward in a new project, to be launched later in 2018.

Mortality Records (Northern Ireland), 1974-

Title Details

SN:
888006
Title:
Mortality Records (Northern Ireland), 1974-
Principal investigator(s):
Department of Finance and Personnel (Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency)
Data collector(s):
District Registrars

Subject Categories

  • Population, vital statistics and censuses

Abstract

  • Abstract copyright ADRN.

    The Death Records dataset of Northern Ireland contains administrative records about mortality events occurred in Northern Ireland since 1974. The dataset contains a wide variety of information including date and place of death, forename(s) and surname, age, marital status, occupation and cause of death. There are around 14,000 deaths in Northern Ireland each year which are registered by 26 District Registrars. The Registrars are under the instruction and authority of the Northern Ireland Registrar General who is responsible for the recording of all life events (such as births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships) in Northern Ireland. The population of Northern Ireland is approximately 1.8 million.

    By law, deaths should be registered no later than five days from the date of death. In practice this does not always happen for a number of reasons such as coroner’s cases. Around 20 per cent of all deaths are referred to the Coroner. Once a death is recorded by a District Registrar the information is made available to the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP). The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) who are an executive agency of the DFP then compile the data for research and statistical purposes.

    The Death Records dataset held by the Department of Finance and Personnel covers deaths in Northern Ireland only. Information on deaths in Scotland is recorded by National Records of Scotland. In England and Wales it is recorded by the Office for National Statistics.

    Death records for England & Wales and/or Scotland may not always be on exactly the same basis as Northern Ireland as there can be differences in the coverage of what at first sight appear to be the same statistics. All deaths which occur in Northern Ireland should be registered in Northern Ireland, even if the people involved are residents of other countries.

    Information on death records has been collected since 1864. The Department of Finance and Personnel keep Northern Ireland records from 1887 to the present day. Full electronic registration details have been kept since 1997. Every death recorded is entered by a Local Registrar onto an Electronic Register system. This is a live computer system linked to the Department of Finance and Personnel. The information is then transferred to the NISRA statistical database where further quality checks are carried out on each record.

    The recording of deaths in Ireland commenced on 1st January 1864. Northern Ireland came into existence in 1922. Until this point, the recording of deaths was governed under All Ireland legislation. Deaths are now governed under the Births and Deaths Registration (Northern Ireland) Order 1976, which repealed all prior legislation.

    Statistics and publications that use the Northern Ireland Death Records data are available from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency website.

    From 2001 cause of death is classified using the tenth revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death (ICD10). Previous years were coded in the ninth revision (1979-2000) and eighth revision (1970-1978). Although ICD-09 and ICD-10 are not comparable for alcohol related deaths, research in England and Wales showed that the introduction of ICD-10 resulted in a difference of less than one per cent in the number of deaths from alcohol related causes compared to using ICD-09.

    The information held by the Department of Finance and Personnel on death records in Northern Ireland varies according to the time period. Below provides a summary.

    • 1887 to 1973: the Department of Finance and Personnel hold basic information about death records including sex and age of death. The information held in these annual reports for this period have not yet been extracted into an electronic format for research and statistical purposes.
    • 1974 to 1996: electronic files are available for this period. The variables available include sex, age, cause of death and geographical information.
    • 1997 onwards: more detailed electronic files are available on death records for this period including name and address details.

    In addition, during the period 1922 to 2008 there were multiple changes in coding practice for cause of death. Between 1967 and 1968 the coding changed from version 7 to version 8 of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and resulted in an increase in the number of deaths classified as ‘Circulatory diseases’.

    The data recorded are of a high quality and should have complete population coverage as it is a legal requirement to record a death. There are many in built checks that are carried out by the District Registrars and statisticians within NISRA to also ensure data quality.

    Research Usage and Linkage

    The death records data are used for a wide variety of purposes. The Northern Ireland Statistical and Research Agency use the data for statistical purposes and have produced research reports into the causes of death. The Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure identifies small area concentrations of multiple deprivation. NISRA use the death data to help produce some of the domains used to compile the measure.

    The data are also used as part of The Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS). This is a large scale data linkage study that combines census, vital events and health datasets to examine trends and patterns in cultural, demographic, economic, health, housing and social issues. The Centre for Suicide Prevention based at the University of Manchester receives quarterly extracts of the deaths data. The data are used by them to help research into suicide across the UK. NINIS (Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service) is part of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. It provides free access to statistical and locational information relating to small areas across Northern Ireland. Death records data are used to help provide this information. Finally, the Public Health Agency make use of all the vital events data collected and prepare a wide variety of health related research publications including research into cancer mortality.

    In theory the records can be linked to other datasets with common identifiable fields such as name, address and postcode.


Coverage, universe, methodology

Time period:
Electronic records: 1974 - ; Historical records: 1887-1973
Country:
Northern Ireland
Observation units:
Individuals
Kind of data:
Individual (micro) level
Universe:
National
All registered deaths occurred in Northern Ireland since 1974.

Time dimensions:
Repeated cross-sectional study
Sampling procedures:
No sampling (total universe)
Number of units:
Approximately 14,000 deaths each year
Method of data collection:

Compilation or synthesis of existing material

Every death recorded is entered by a Local Registrar onto an Electronic Register system. This is a live computer system linked to the Department of Finance and Personnel. The information is then transferred to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) statistical database where further quality checks are carried out on each record.


Frequency of release:
Annual
Data Updated:
Continuously

Administrative and access information

Copyright:
Crown copyright
Access conditions:
ADRN
Availability:
Contact the Network

Documentation

Title File Name Size (KB)
User Guide 888006_vital_statistics_quality.pdf 165
READ File read888006.txt 3

Publications

By principal investigator(s):

  • Morris, C. (2007) 'Fuel Poverty, Climate and Mortality in Northern Ireland 1980-2006'.
  • McClelland, A. (2008) Differences in Mortality Rates in Northern Ireland 2002-2005: A Section 75 and Social Disadvantage Perspective, Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
  • NISRA (2010) Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure 2010, Department of Finance and Personnel.
  • NISRA (2013) Registrar General, Department of Finance and Personnel, The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency..
  • NISRA (2013) Registrar General, Department of Finance and Personnel, The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency..

Resulting from secondary analysis:

  • O'Reilly, G., O'Reilly, D., Rosato, M., Connolly, S. (2007) 'Urban and rural variations in morbidity and mortality in Northern Ireland', BMC Public Health, 7(123). doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-123
  • Department for Social Development (2008) Climate and mortality in Northern Ireland 2001-2006, Department for Social Development.
  • O'Reilly, D., Rosato, M. (2008) 'Religious affiliation and mortality in Northern Ireland: beyond Catholic and Protestant', Social Science & Medicine, 66(7), pp. 1637-1645. 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.12.004
  • O'Reilly, D., Rosato, M., Connolly, S. (2008) 'Unlinked vital events in census-based longitudinal studies can bias subsequent analysis', J Clin Epidemiol, 61(4), pp. 380-385. 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2007.05.012.
  • O'Reilly, D., Rosato, M. (2010) 'Dissonances in self-reported health and mortality across denominational groups in Northern Ireland', Social Science & Medicine, 71(5), pp. 1011-1017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.05.042
  • Connolly, S., Rosato, M., O'Reilly, D. (2011) 'The effect of population movement on the spatial distribution of socio-economic and health status: Analysis using the Northern Ireland mortality study', Health & Place, 17(4), pp. 1007-1010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.02.005
  • Connolly, S., Rosato, M., Kinnear, H., O'Reilly, D. (2011) 'Variation in mortality by country of birth in Northern Ireland: a record linkage study', Health & Place, 17(3), pp. 801-806. 10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.03.001.
  • NILS-RSU (2011) Area factors and suicide in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study.
  • NILS-RSU (2011) Is Caring Associated with Increased Mortality in Northern Ireland?, Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study.
  • Connolly, S., O'Reilly, D., Rosato, M., Cardwell, C. (2011) 'Area of residence and alcohol-related mortality risk: a five-year follow-up study', Addiction, 106(1), pp. 84-92. 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03103.x
  • Connolly, S., Rosato, M., O'Reilly, D. (2011) 'The effect of population movement on the spatial distribution of socio-economic and health status: Analysis using the Northern Ireland mortality study', Health & Place, 17(4), pp. 1007-1010.
  • Connolly, S., Rosato, M., Kinnear, H., O'Reilly, D. (2011) 'Variation in mortality by country of birth in Northern Ireland: a record linkage study', Health & Place, 17(3), pp. 801-806.
  • NILS-RSU (2011) Area factors and suicide in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study.
  • NILS-RSU (2011) Is Caring Associated with Increased Mortality in Northern Ireland?, Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study.
  • University of Manchester (2013) The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, University of Manchester.
  • University of Manchester (2013) The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, University of Manchester.


Page last updated: 20/09/2017