In 2007, mortality is expected to decline further relative to last year. Mild weather conditions reduced mortality, particularly in summer. The decline in mortality since 2002 is all the more remarkable, because the population is ageing.
Mortality and summer temperatures
Few heat deaths in 2007
Previous research shows that both high and low temperatures lead to more deaths. The 2003 heat wave and the two heat waves in 2006 caused many extra deaths among the older population. Temperatures in the summer of 2007, on the other hand, were significantly lower and partly accounted for the lower mortality rate.
Annual mortality over 2007 in the Netherlands is expected not to exceed 132 thousand. Five years ago, annual mortality was more than 10 thousand higher.
Flu deaths also down
Heat waves cause many extra deaths. Yet, mortality rates in winter are always higher than in summer. Especially in combination with a flu epidemic, low temperatures result in more deaths. A long-lasting flu epidemic in the winter of 2003/2004, for example, stepped up mortality. In the period following the flu outbreak, mortality rates were below average. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, flu outbreaks were relatively rare.
Trend in annual risk of dying
Risk of dying down across all age groups
In recent years, the annual risk of dying has decreased across nearly all age groups. The most substantial decline occurred among people in their seventies. As a result, mortality is declining, although the population is ageing. Only among people over the age of ninety, mortality is increasing, but the risk of dying in this age bracket is also declining.
Joop Garssen and Carel Harmsen