Report on the Demographic Situation in Canada
Mortality: Overview, 2012 and 2013

by André Lebel and Stacey HallmanNote 1

Release date: July 12, 2017 Correction date: (if required)

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Highlights
  • The number of deaths recorded in Canada in a single year reached an unprecedented level in 2013: 252,338. This is 5,742 more than in 2012, when there were 246,596 deaths in Canada. Year‑over‑year increases in the number of deaths are expected because of the growth and aging of the population.
  • At 7.2 deaths per 1,000 people, the crude mortality rate in 2013 was up slightly from the 2012 rate (7.1 deaths per 1,000 people).
  • Standardized mortality rates show that the intensity of mortality gradually declined over a period of 30 years: the standardized rate for 1982 was 16.1 per 1,000, more than double what it was in 2013.
  • In 2013, the number of deaths in winter was 16% higher than the number of deaths during the summer.
  • Only 1.0% of deaths among men and 0.9% of deaths among women occurred before age 10. On the other hand, 11.9% of deaths among men and 26.2% of deaths among women occurred at age 90 or older.
  • Life expectancy at birth has improved significantly since the early 20th century; it peaked in the 2011/2013 period at 79.6 years for men and 83.8 years for women.
  • Infant mortality has decreased sharply since 1921. A child born in 2013 was twenty times more likely to celebrate his or her first birthday than a child born in 1921 in Canada.

Key statistics

  • There were 252,338 deaths in Canada in 2013.
    • There were 126,973 male deaths and 125,365 female deaths.
  • The crude mortality rate was 7.2 deaths per 1,000 population.
  • The infant mortality rate was 5.0 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • The life expectancy at birth was 81.7 years in 2011/2013.
    • The life expectancy at birth for men was 79.6 years.
    • The life expectancy at birth for women was 83.8 years.
  • The life expectancy at age 65 was 20.5 years in 2011/2013.
    • The life expectancy at age 65 for men was 19.0 years.
    • The life expectancy at age 65 for women was 21.9 years.
End of text box

This article analyzes recent trends in deaths and mortality in Canada and in the provinces and territories, and puts these trends in a historical context. It is an update based on the most recent vital statistics data for the years 2012 and 2013. The revised data from Statistics Canada’s population estimates for the same years were also used to compute various indicators from the 2010/2012 and 2011/2013 life tables. With this release, the CANSIM tables and Excel highlight tables associated with this publication have been updated; they now go back to the 1980/1982 period, using the same methodology.

The analysis focuses mainly on the total number of deaths, crude and standardized death rates, life expectancy at different ages, probabilities of dying, survival probabilities, infant mortality rates and monthly variations in deaths. Where relevant, the data are also analyzed by province and territory, as well as by age and sex.

The number of deaths continues to increase

Since the mid-1930s, the number of deaths recorded each year in Canada has trended upward, despite some annual fluctuations (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Number of deaths, Canada, 1926 to 2013

Data table for Figure 1
Figure 1
Number of deaths, Canada, 1926 to 2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Number of deaths. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Number (appearing as column headers).
Year Number
1926 111,055
1927 109,104
1928 113,175
1929 117,622
1930 113,283
1931 108,446
1932 108,161
1933 105,603
1934 105,277
1935 109,724
1936 111,111
1937 118,019
1938 110,647
1939 112,729
1940 114,717
1941 118,797
1942 117,110
1943 122,640
1944 120,393
1945 117,325
1946 118,785
1947 121,482
1948 122,974
1949 124,566
1950 124,008
1951 125,805
1952 126,371
1953 127,789
1954 124,641
1955 128,237
1956 131,790
1957 136,404
1958 135,036
1959 139,717
1960 139,540
1961 140,870
1962 143,547
1963 147,291
1964 145,750
1965 148,832
1966 149,764
1967 150,205
1968 153,028
1969 154,418
1970 155,872
1971 157,205
1972 162,348
1973 163,954
1974 166,794
1975 167,176
1976 167,009
1977 167,498
1978 168,179
1979 168,183
1980 171,473
1981 171,029
1982 174,413
1983 174,484
1984 175,727
1985 181,323
1986 184,224
1987 184,953
1988 190,011
1989 190,965
1990 191,973
1991 195,569
1992 196,535
1993 204,912
1994 207,077
1995 210,733
1996 212,880
1997 215,669
1998 218,091
1999 219,530
2000 218,062
2001 219,538
2002 223,603
2003 226,169
2004 226,584
2005 230,132
2006 228,079
2007 235,217
2008 238,617
2009 238,418
2010 240,075
2011 243,511
2012 246,596
2013 252,338

After a slight decrease from 2008 (238,617 deaths) to 2009 (238,418 deaths), the number of deaths resumed its increase, reaching 252,338 in 2013. This is the highest level since the vital statistics registration system was introduced in the 1920s.

The increase in the number of deaths can be explained by two factors: population growth, i.e., a larger population generates a higher number of deaths; and population aging, i.e., the proportion of seniors (whose mortality is higher) is increasing. Other factors, such as particularly bad influenza outbreaks during colder winters, may explain some annual fluctuations.

The number of deaths is expected to keep increasing in coming years in Canada as the large cohort of baby boomers born between 1946 and 1965 gradually shifts to the older age groups.

Still slightly more male deaths than female

In 2013, there were slightly more male deaths (126,973) than female deaths (125,365) in Canada, the difference being 1,608 deaths (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Number of deaths by sex, Canada, 1926 to 2013

Data table for Figure 2
Figure 2
Number of deaths by sex, Canada, 1926 to 2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Number of deaths by sex. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Males and Females, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Males Females
number
1926 56,979 50,475
1927 56,265 49,027
1928 58,480 50,576
1929 60,920 52,595
1930 59,109 50,197
1931 56,529 47,988
1932 56,153 48,224
1933 54,725 47,243
1934 55,224 46,358
1935 57,206 48,361
1936 57,728 49,322
1937 62,109 51,715
1938 58,817 48,000
1939 59,907 49,044
1940 61,399 49,528
1941 63,852 50,787
1942 63,013 49,965
1943 66,013 52,622
1944 64,313 51,739
1945 63,351 50,063
1946 64,159 50,772
1947 66,438 51,266
1948 67,427 51,957
1949 70,371 53,676
1950 70,623 53,385
1951 71,505 54,300
1952 72,994 53,377
1953 73,705 54,084
1954 72,263 52,378
1955 74,808 53,429
1956 76,520 55,270
1957 79,853 56,551
1958 79,098 55,938
1959 81,352 58,365
1960 81,751 57,789
1961 82,687 58,183
1962 83,816 59,731
1963 85,887 61,404
1964 85,732 60,018
1965 87,162 61,670
1966 87,873 61,891
1967 88,254 61,951
1968 89,446 63,582
1969 90,214 64,204
1970 91,060 64,812
1971 91,786 65,419
1972 94,445 67,903
1973 95,365 68,589
1974 96,575 70,219
1975 96,925 70,251
1976 96,725 70,284
1977 96,872 70,626
1978 97,116 71,063
1979 96,532 71,651
1980 97,575 73,898
1981 97,055 73,974
1982 98,054 76,359
1983 97,747 76,737
1984 97,872 77,855
1985 100,460 80,863
1986 100,969 83,255
1987 101,252 83,701
1988 104,106 85,905
1989 104,108 86,857
1990 103,968 88,005
1991 105,439 90,130
1992 105,865 90,670
1993 109,407 95,505
1994 109,742 97,335
1995 111,396 99,337
1996 111,404 101,476
1997 111,986 103,683
1998 113,007 105,085
1999 113,670 105,860
2000 111,742 106,321
2001 112,001 107,537
2002 113,266 110,337
2003 114,905 111,264
2004 114,513 112,071
2005 116,007 114,126
2006 115,149 112,930
2007 118,681 116,536
2008 120,427 118,190
2009 120,310 118,108
2010 120,638 119,437
2011 122,251 121,260
2012 124,235 122,361
2013 126,973 125,365

The two numbers have been converging during the last three decades because female deaths have been increasing faster than male deaths. This situation is due to a more rapid decline in male mortality than in female mortality since the late 1970s, because women’s lifestyles have become increasingly similar to men’s. Thus, the increase in the number of deaths resulting from population growth and aging has been more moderate among males than among females.

In 2013, there were more male deaths than female deaths up to age 83, after which the situation reversed. Only a few ages below age 14 were exceptions to this pattern (Figure 3). At the oldest ages, there were fewer male survivors, owing to higher mortality risks for males than for females at every stage of life. Consequently, more deaths were observed among women than men at the oldest ages because more women reach this age group.

Figure 3 Number of deaths by age and sex, Canada, 2013

Data table for Figure 3
Figure 3
Number of deaths by age and sex, Canada, 2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Number of deaths by age and sex. The information is grouped by Age (appearing as row headers), Males and Females, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age Males Females
number
0 1,032 852
1 67 72
2 36 37
3 35 18
4 26 26
5 18 16
6 22 16
7 17 12
8 18 18
9 18 9
10 19 21
11 14 20
12 22 18
13 14 21
14 41 33
15 51 42
16 55 48
17 91 42
18 115 48
19 149 66
20 152 70
21 165 78
22 164 61
23 205 76
24 161 79
25 174 77
26 182 78
27 174 74
28 171 76
29 186 94
30 201 85
31 201 95
32 210 100
33 210 120
34 182 116
35 211 136
36 199 132
37 236 132
38 268 137
39 249 133
40 255 183
41 270 199
42 360 212
43 371 232
44 429 259
45 461 303
46 498 314
47 603 385
48 675 447
49 759 487
50 854 572
51 949 576
52 1,010 638
53 1,087 698
54 1,151 784
55 1,253 788
56 1,421 891
57 1,416 976
58 1,577 994
59 1,649 1,100
60 1,694 1,126
61 1,900 1,190
62 1,927 1,151
63 1,950 1,227
64 2,152 1,363
65 2,333 1,532
66 2,462 1,709
67 2,311 1,531
68 2,300 1,505
69 2,476 1,749
70 2,534 1,829
71 2,627 1,823
72 2,708 1,986
73 2,809 1,921
74 2,815 2,115
75 2,893 2,137
76 2,943 2,339
77 3,111 2,541
78 3,436 2,706
79 3,417 2,981
80 3,801 3,172
81 3,691 3,391
82 4,102 3,786
83 4,088 4,055
84 4,009 4,151
85 4,104 4,304
86 3,954 4,592
87 3,817 4,641
88 3,504 4,812
89 3,212 4,741
90 2,940 4,869
91 2,849 4,658
92 2,284 4,403
93 1,947 3,935
94 1,232 3,159
95 1,108 2,642
96 797 2,343
97 578 1,841
98 485 1,536
99 343 1,122
100 198 795
101 151 553
102 64 401
103 56 221
104 23 163
105 12 84
106 13 44
107 2 30
108 1 21
109 1 9
110 0 8

The highest number of deaths was recorded at age 85 for males (4,104) and age 90 for females (4,869) in 2013. For males, roughly three-quarters (74.5%) of all deaths occurred at age 65 or older, while for females, the proportion was 83.7%. Very few deaths were observed among people younger than 10: there were 1,289 male deaths (1.0% of all male deaths) and 1,076 female deaths (0.9% of all female deaths). Considerably more deaths were observed among people aged 90 and older, 32,837 deaths for females (26.2% of all female deaths) and 15,084 deaths for males (11.9% of all male deaths).

Mortality has decreased in recent decades

The number of deaths has been increasing in a context of declining mortality intensity. Since the early 1980s, the crude mortality rate has been on average 7.1 per 1,000. The aging of the population puts strong upward pressure on this rate. The resulting standardized mortality rates show that the intensity of mortality has gradually declined over the preceding 30 years. The standardized rate for 1982 was 16.1 per 1,000—a little more than double what it was in 2013 (7.2 per 1,000) (Figure 4).

Figure 4 Crude and standardised mortality rates, Canada, 1982 to 2013

Data table for Figure 4
Figure 4
Crude and standardised mortality rates, Canada, 1982 to 2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Crude and standardised mortality rates. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Crude rates and Standardised mortality rates (2013), calculated using per 1,000 units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Crude mortality rates Standardized mortality rates
per 1,000
1982 6.9 16.1
1983 6.9 15.5
1984 6.9 15.1
1985 7.0 15.1
1986 7.1 14.8
1987 7.0 14.2
1988 7.1 14.0
1989 7.0 13.4
1990 6.9 12.9
1991 7.0 12.6
1992 6.9 12.2
1993 7.1 12.3
1994 7.1 12.0
1995 7.2 11.8
1996 7.2 11.6
1997 7.2 11.4
1998 7.2 11.2
1999 7.2 10.9
2000 7.1 10.5
2001 7.1 10.2
2002 7.1 10.0
2003 7.1 9.7
2004 7.1 9.4
2005 7.1 9.2
2006 7.0 8.7
2007 7.2 8.6
2008 7.2 8.4
2009 7.1 8.1
2010 7.1 7.8
2011 7.1 7.6
2012 7.1 7.3
2013 7.2 7.2

Strong increase in life expectancy in the 20th century

Although crude and standardized mortality rates provide insight into changes in mortality, experts often prefer period life expectancy, which consists of the average number of years individuals of a given population would live if, through the course of their lives, they experienced the age-specific probabilities of dying observed during a given calendar year or given period.

Period life expectancy must be distinguished from cohort life expectancy, which is the actual average number of years lived by a group of individuals born in a given year. Cohort life expectancy can be computed only once a given cohort is almost or totally extinct through mortality; therefore, it generally requires the use of demographic projections.

In Canada, life expectancy at birth has greatly improved since the early 20th century, reaching a peak in 2011/2013 (Figure 5). Since the early 1920s, the life expectancy of men at birth has increased by 20.8 years, from 58.8 years in the 1920/1922 period to 79.6 years in the 2011/2013 period. Over the same period, the life expectancy of women at birth grew slightly faster (by 23.2 years) from 60.6 years in the 1920/1922 period to 83.8 years in the 2011/2013 period. However, from the 1980/1982 period to the 2011/2013 period, the life expectancy gains were higher for men (7.6 years) than for women (4.7 years). The average male life expectancy in 1980/1982 was 72.0 years, and the average female life expectancy was 79.1 years.

Figure 5 Life expectancy at birth, by sex, Canada, 1920/1922 to 2011/2013

Data table for Figure 5
Figure 5
Life expectancy at birth, by sex, Canada, 1920/1922 to 2011/2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Life expectancy at birth. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Males and Females, calculated using in years units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Males Females
in years
1920/1922 58.8 60.6
1925/1927 60.5 62.3
1930/1932 60.0 62.1
1935/1937 61.3 63.7
1940/1942 63.0 66.3
1945/1947 65.1 68.6
1950/1952 66.4 70.9
1955/1957 67.7 73.0
1960/1962 68.4 74.3
1965/1967 68.7 75.3
1970/1972 69.4 76.5
1975/1977 70.3 77.7
1980/1982 72.0 79.1
1985/1987 73.3 79.9
1990/1992 74.5 80.9
1995/1997 75.4 81.1
2000/2002 76.9 81.9
2005/2007 78.1 82.7
2009/2011 79.1 83.5
2010/2012 79.4 83.6
2011/2013 79.6 83.8

Over the past 90 years, the gap in life expectancy between the sexes—a gap that favours women—has fluctuated between 1.8 years in both 1920/1922 and 1925/1927, and 7.4 years in 1975/1977 (Figure 6). The gap increased from the 1940/1942 to the 1975/1977 period, mainly because of higher male mortality from cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease) and malignant neoplasms (mainly lung and other smoking‑related cancers) (Waldron 1993 and Meslé 2004, cited in Bourbeau and Ouellet 2016).

Figure 6 Gap (in years) in life expectancy at birth between females and males, Canada, 1920/1922 to 2011/2013

Data table for Figure 6
Figure 6
Gap (in years) in life expectancy at birth between females and males, Canada, 1920/1922 to 2011/2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Gap (in years) in life expectancy at birth between females and males. The information is grouped by Period (appearing as row headers), Gap, calculated using in years units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Period Gap
in years
1920/1922 1.8
1925/1927 1.8
1930/1932 2.1
1935/1937 2.4
1940/1942 3.3
1945/1947 3.5
1950/1952 4.5
1955/1957 5.3
1960/1962 5.9
1965/1967 6.6
1970/1972 7.1
1975/1977 7.4
1980/1982 7.1
1985/1987 6.6
1990/1992 6.4
1995/1997 5.7
2000/2002 5.0
2005/2007 4.6
2010/2012 4.2
2011/2013 4.2

Since 1975/1977, this gap has steadily decreased, reaching 4.2 years in 2011/2013. This catch-up by men appears to be primarily the result of a reduction in male–female mortality gaps associated with cardiovascular disease (Waldron 1993, Trovato and Lalu 1995, Pampel 2002, Meslé 2004, Trovato and Heyen 2006, and Trovato 2007, cited in Bourbeau and Ouellet 2016). Cardiovascular disease among women is often associated with their adoption of lifestyles similar to those of men—for example, as far as labour market participation, smoking levels and alcohol consumption are concerned.

Life expectancy at age 65 has also increased in recent decades in Canada. From the 1980/1982 period to the 2011/2013 period, it increased from 14.6 years to 19.0 years for men, and from 18.9 years to 21.9 years for women. The gap in favour of women at age 65 decreased from 4.3 years to 2.9 years over the same period. By way of comparison, in 1920/1922, the average number of years someone aged 65 could expect to live was 13.5 years for men and 16.1 years for women.

Nowadays, gains in life expectancy at birth occur mostly after age 65, whereas in the early 20th century, lower infant mortality (children younger than 1 year old) and juvenile mortality (children between 1 and 4 years old) accounted for the rapid increase in life expectancy (Bourbeau 2004, Bourbeau and Légaré 1997). Since the 1980/1982 period, declining mortality beyond age 65 has accounted for more than half the gains in life expectancy at birth for men (4.4 years of the 7.6 year gain) and women (3.0 years of the 4.7 year gain).

Life expectancy in Canada is among the highest in countries of the OECD

Based on life expectancies compiled for approximately 40 countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)Note 2, Canada ranked 13th among women (83.8 years) and 11th among men (79.6 years). Among women, Japanese women had the highest life expectancy at birth in 2013 (86.6 years), followed by Spanish women (86.1 years), French women (85.6 years) and Italian women (85.2 years). For men, the highest life expectancies at birth in 2013 were in Switzerland (80.7 years), Iceland (80.5 years), Italy (80.3 years), Israel (80.3 years) and Japan (80.2 years). The life expectancy at birth of Americans was 2.6 years lower for women (81.2 years) and 3.2 years lower for men (76.4 years) than the life expectancy at birth of Canadians. As a result, among OECD countries, the United States ranked 27th for men and 31st for women in 2013.

In terms of life expectancy at age 65, Canadian women ranked 10th among OECD countries (21.9 years), behind Japanese women (24.0 years) and French women (23.6 years). Canadian men ranked 12th (19.0 years), behind Swiss men (19.4 years) and French men (19.3 years) but well ahead of American men (17.9 years).

Increase in deaths and life expectancy in the provinces and territories

The upward trend in the number of deaths in recent decades was also observed in all provinces and territories (Table 1), despite some year-to-year fluctuations that usually had more of an effect in regions with a smaller population. Consistent with this trend, the number of recorded deaths in 2013 reached unprecedented levels in all provinces and territories, except Manitoba and the Northwest Territories.

Table 1
Number of deaths and crude death rate per 1,000 population, Canada, provinces and territories, 1981 to 2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Number of deaths and crude death rate per 1. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), N.L., P.E.I., N.S., N.B., Que., Ont., Man., Sask., Alta., B.C., Y.T., N.W.T., Nvt., Unknown and Canada, calculated using number and rate per 1,000 units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year N.L. P.E.I. N.S. N.B. Que. Ont. Man. Sask. Alta. B.C. Y.T. N.W.T. Nvt. Unknown Canada
number
1981 3,230 992 6,958 5,139 42,684 62,838 8,648 7,523 12,823 19,857 141 196 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period 0 171,029
1986 3,540 1,121 7,255 5,458 46,892 67,865 8,911 8,061 13,560 21,213 113 235 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period 0 184,224
1991 3,798 1,188 7,255 5,469 49,121 72,917 8,943 8,098 14,451 23,977 114 237 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period 1 195,569
1996 3,928 1,268 7,751 5,896 52,336 79,099 9,497 8,765 16,391 27,536 120 272 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period 21 212,880
2001 4,151 1,160 7,879 6,062 54,194 81,214 9,734 8,740 17,579 28,353 134 163 123 52 219,538
2002 4,183 1,236 7,997 6,096 55,534 82,234 9,849 8,906 18,234 28,883 147 169 127 8 223,603
2003 4,281 1,183 8,064 6,257 54,927 84,207 9,867 9,007 18,585 29,320 133 202 134 2 226,169
2004 4,308 1,223 8,241 6,247 55,624 83,142 9,903 8,844 18,675 29,923 166 153 121 14 226,584
2005 4,486 1,118 8,273 6,175 55,787 85,591 9,856 8,850 19,288 30,227 164 148 115 54 230,132
2006 4,493 1,172 8,088 6,010 54,240 84,524 9,774 9,054 19,540 30,688 178 182 129 7 228,079
2007 4,505 1,147 8,353 6,324 56,521 87,340 9,958 9,062 20,202 31,308 192 174 129 2 235,217
2008 4,539 1,201 8,220 6,450 57,106 88,041 10,073 9,243 21,079 32,095 198 201 147 24 238,617
2009 4,391 1,268 8,227 6,366 57,769 88,468 9,972 8,972 20,987 31,440 201 186 162 9 238,418
2010 4,481 1,116 8,295 6,312 58,806 89,282 9,985 9,205 20,755 31,324 198 184 132 0 240,075
2011 4,527 1,253 8,533 6,411 59,539 89,976 10,250 9,262 21,242 31,966 193 188 171 0 243,511
2012 4,635 1,231 8,415 6,443 60,774 90,740 10,062 9,204 22,001 32,524 206 200 161 0 246,596
2013 4,837 1,284 8,878 6,627 61,289 93,343 10,095 9,333 22,844 33,200 215 199 194 0 252,338
rate per 1,000
1981 5.6 8.0 8.1 7.3 6.5 7.1 8.4 7.7 5.6 7.0 5.9 4.1 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period Note ...: not applicable 6.9
1986 6.1 8.7 8.2 7.5 7.0 7.2 8.2 7.8 5.6 7.1 4.6 4.3 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period Note ...: not applicable 7.1
1991 6.6 9.1 7.9 7.3 7.0 7.0 8.1 8.1 5.6 7.1 3.9 6.1 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period Note ...: not applicable 7.0
1996 7.0 9.3 8.3 7.8 7.2 7.1 8.4 8.6 5.9 7.1 3.8 6.5 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period Note ...: not applicable 7.2
2001 8.0 8.5 8.5 8.1 7.3 6.8 8.5 8.7 5.8 7.0 4.4 4.0 4.4 Note ...: not applicable 7.1
2002 8.1 9.0 8.6 8.1 7.5 6.8 8.5 8.9 5.8 7.0 4.8 4.1 4.4 Note ...: not applicable 7.1
2003 8.3 8.6 8.6 8.3 7.3 6.9 8.5 9.0 5.8 7.1 4.3 4.7 4.6 Note ...: not applicable 7.1
2004 8.3 8.9 8.8 8.3 7.4 6.7 8.4 8.9 5.8 7.2 5.3 3.5 4.1 Note ...: not applicable 7.1
2005 8.7 8.1 8.8 8.3 7.4 6.8 8.4 8.9 5.8 7.2 5.1 3.4 3.8 Note ...: not applicable 7.1
2006 8.8 8.5 8.6 8.1 7.1 6.7 8.3 9.1 5.7 7.2 5.5 4.2 4.2 Note ...: not applicable 7.0
2007 8.9 8.3 8.9 8.5 7.3 6.8 8.4 9.0 5.7 7.3 5.9 4.0 4.1 Note ...: not applicable 7.2
2008 8.9 8.7 8.8 8.6 7.4 6.8 8.4 9.1 5.9 7.4 6.0 4.6 4.6 Note ...: not applicable 7.2
2009 8.5 9.1 8.8 8.5 7.4 6.8 8.3 8.7 5.7 7.1 6.0 4.3 5.0 Note ...: not applicable 7.1
2010 8.6 7.9 8.8 8.4 7.4 6.8 8.2 8.8 5.6 7.0 5.7 4.3 4.0 Note ...: not applicable 7.1
2011 8.6 8.7 9.0 8.5 7.4 6.8 8.3 8.7 5.6 7.1 5.5 4.3 5.0 Note ...: not applicable 7.1
2012 8.8 8.5 8.9 8.5 7.5 6.8 8.0 8.5 5.7 7.2 5.7 4.6 4.6 Note ...: not applicable 7.1
2013 9.2 8.8 9.4 8.8 7.5 6.9 8.0 8.4 5.7 7.2 5.9 4.5 5.5 Note ...: not applicable 7.2

British Columbia continued to have the highest life expectancy at birth in the country. This is true for both men (80.4 years) and women (84.4 years) in the most recent period (2011-2013) (Table 2).

The lowest life expectancy at birth was still in Nunavut, where men could expect to live 68.4 years and women 72.9 years, according to 2011/2013 mortality. The difference in life expectancy at birth between these two jurisdictions was 12.0 years for men and 11.5 years for women.

Ontario and Quebec were the only other provinces with life expectancies at birth close to or above the national average in recent years. All the other provinces and all the territories had life expectancies at birth that were below the national average.

Table 2
Life expectancy at birth and at age 65, Canada, provinces and territories, 2011/2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Life expectancy at birth and at age 65. The information is grouped by Region (appearing as row headers), At birth, At age 65, Males and Females, calculated using in years units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Region At birth At age 65
Males Females Males Females
in years
Canada 79.6 83.8 19.0 21.9
Newfoundland and Labrador 77.4 81.6 17.3 20.2
Prince Edward Island 78.4 83.1 17.9 21.2
Nova Scotia 78.1 82.5 17.8 20.9
New Brunswick 78.5 83.1 18.4 21.3
Quebec 79.7 83.8 18.8 21.8
Ontario 80.1 84.2 19.2 22.1
Manitoba 77.8 82.3 18.2 21.3
Saskatchewan 77.7 82.3 18.4 21.4
Alberta 79.2 83.6 18.9 21.9
British Columbia 80.4 84.4 19.6 22.3
Yukon 76.3 81.2 16.8 20.8
Northwest Territories 75.6 80.1 16.4 20.3
Nunavut 68.4 72.9 14.5 14.8

Mortality gaps between men and women are decreasing

Over a lifespan, the death probabilities, representing the probability to die at each age for an individual, follow a pattern similar to a checkmark shape: the death probability is higher in the first year of life—most often in the first few days—and then decreases to the lowest level between ages 1 and 14 (Figure 7). The probability then climbs higher between approximately 15 and 24 years of age (especially among males) because of violent deaths such as accidents and suicides. After that, the probability increases steadily, reaching a peak of roughly 0.4 (i.e., two in five chances of dying in a given year) at age 105 and older.

Figure 7 Probabilities of dying by age and sex, Canada, 2011/2013

Data table for Figure 7
Figure 7
Probabilities of dying by age and sex, Canada, 2011/2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Probabilities of dying by age and sex. The information is grouped by Age (appearing as row headers), Males and Females, calculated using probability of dying units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age Males Females
probability of dying
0 0.00516 0.00445
1 0.00027 0.00027
2 0.00020 0.00018
3 0.00016 0.00014
4 0.00013 0.00011
5 0.00011 0.00009
6 0.00009 0.00008
7 0.00009 0.00007
8 0.00008 0.00007
9 0.00008 0.00007
10 0.00009 0.00008
11 0.00009 0.00009
12 0.00011 0.00011
13 0.00014 0.00012
14 0.00018 0.00015
15 0.00025 0.00018
16 0.00035 0.00022
17 0.00045 0.00025
18 0.00054 0.00027
19 0.00061 0.00029
20 0.00067 0.00030
21 0.00072 0.00031
22 0.00076 0.00031
23 0.00077 0.00031
24 0.00076 0.00031
25 0.00075 0.00031
26 0.00074 0.00031
27 0.00074 0.00032
28 0.00074 0.00034
29 0.00075 0.00036
30 0.00077 0.00038
31 0.00079 0.00042
32 0.00081 0.00044
33 0.00083 0.00047
34 0.00086 0.00049
35 0.00089 0.00051
36 0.00092 0.00053
37 0.00097 0.00056
38 0.00103 0.00061
39 0.00112 0.00067
40 0.00122 0.00075
41 0.00135 0.00084
42 0.00148 0.00095
43 0.00162 0.00106
44 0.00178 0.00118
45 0.00195 0.00131
46 0.00214 0.00144
47 0.00234 0.00158
48 0.00256 0.00173
49 0.00279 0.00188
50 0.00304 0.00204
51 0.00332 0.00221
52 0.00362 0.00239
53 0.00395 0.00259
54 0.00431 0.00281
55 0.00471 0.00305
56 0.00515 0.00332
57 0.00563 0.00362
58 0.00616 0.00394
59 0.00675 0.00430
60 0.00740 0.00470
61 0.00811 0.00514
62 0.00890 0.00563
63 0.00977 0.00617
64 0.01073 0.00677
65 0.01179 0.00744
66 0.01297 0.00819
67 0.01427 0.00902
68 0.01571 0.00995
69 0.01731 0.01098
70 0.01908 0.01213
71 0.02104 0.01343
72 0.02322 0.01487
73 0.02564 0.01649
74 0.02834 0.01831
75 0.03133 0.02036
76 0.03466 0.02265
77 0.03836 0.02524
78 0.04249 0.02815
79 0.04708 0.03143
80 0.05221 0.03514
81 0.05793 0.03933
82 0.06431 0.04407
83 0.07143 0.04944
84 0.07940 0.05552
85 0.08830 0.06243
86 0.09826 0.07027
87 0.10941 0.07919
88 0.12190 0.08935
89 0.13589 0.10092
90 0.15158 0.11412
91 0.16874 0.12883
92 0.18699 0.14475
93 0.20627 0.16189
94 0.22651 0.18021
95 0.25187 0.20287
96 0.27340 0.22360
97 0.29546 0.24533
98 0.31786 0.26789
99 0.34040 0.29110
100 0.36288 0.31473
101 0.38509 0.33855
102 0.40683 0.36232
103 0.42794 0.38579
104 0.44826 0.40874
105 0.46765 0.43096
106 0.48601 0.45227
107 0.50327 0.47253
108 0.51938 0.49161
109 0.53432 0.50943
110 1.00000 1.00000

Probabilities of dying in 2011/2013 were consistently lower for females than for males throughout their lifespan: the age-specific ratios of male to female probabilities were always above 1 (Figure 8). The biggest gap was observed among people in their early 20s; it decreased from the 1980/1982 period to the 2011/2013 period. The smallest gap was observed at the oldest ages, possibly because of a selection effect: survivors at these ages may be more “resilient,” thereby accounting for a lower male-to-female ratio (Coale and Kisker 1990).

Figure 8 Ratio of probabilities of dying between females and males by age, Canada, 1980/1982 and 2011/2013

Data table for Figure 8
Figure 8
Ratio of probabilities of dying between females and males by age, Canada, 1980/1982 and 2011/2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Ratio of probabilities of dying between females and males by age. The information is grouped by Age (appearing as row headers), 1980/1982 and 2011/2013, calculated using ratio units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age 1980/1982 2011/2013
ratio
0 1.3 1.2
1 1.2 1.0
2 1.3 1.1
3 1.3 1.2
4 1.4 1.2
5 1.5 1.2
6 1.5 1.2
7 1.5 1.2
8 1.5 1.1
9 1.5 1.1
10 1.5 1.0
11 1.5 1.0
12 1.6 1.0
13 1.7 1.1
14 1.9 1.2
15 2.1 1.4
16 2.4 1.6
17 2.7 1.8
18 3.0 2.0
19 3.3 2.1
20 3.5 2.3
21 3.6 2.4
22 3.6 2.4
23 3.4 2.5
24 3.2 2.5
25 2.9 2.4
26 2.7 2.4
27 2.5 2.3
28 2.4 2.2
29 2.3 2.1
30 2.2 2.0
31 2.2 1.9
32 2.1 1.8
33 2.0 1.8
34 1.9 1.7
35 1.8 1.7
36 1.8 1.7
37 1.7 1.7
38 1.7 1.7
39 1.6 1.7
40 1.7 1.6
41 1.7 1.6
42 1.7 1.6
43 1.7 1.5
44 1.7 1.5
45 1.8 1.5
46 1.8 1.5
47 1.8 1.5
48 1.8 1.5
49 1.8 1.5
50 1.9 1.5
51 1.9 1.5
52 1.9 1.5
53 1.9 1.5
54 1.9 1.5
55 2.0 1.5
56 2.0 1.6
57 2.0 1.6
58 2.0 1.6
59 2.0 1.6
60 2.0 1.6
61 2.0 1.6
62 2.0 1.6
63 2.0 1.6
64 2.0 1.6
65 2.0 1.6
66 2.0 1.6
67 2.0 1.6
68 2.0 1.6
69 2.0 1.6
70 1.9 1.6
71 1.9 1.6
72 1.9 1.6
73 1.9 1.6
74 1.9 1.5
75 1.8 1.5
76 1.8 1.5
77 1.8 1.5
78 1.8 1.5
79 1.7 1.5
80 1.7 1.5
81 1.7 1.5
82 1.6 1.5
83 1.6 1.4
84 1.6 1.4
85 1.5 1.4
86 1.5 1.4
87 1.4 1.4
88 1.4 1.4
89 1.4 1.3
90 1.3 1.3
91 1.3 1.3
92 1.3 1.3
93 1.2 1.3
94 1.2 1.3
95 1.2 1.2
96 1.2 1.2
97 1.2 1.2
98 1.1 1.2
99 1.1 1.2
100 1.1 1.2
101 1.1 1.1
102 1.1 1.1
103 1.1 1.1
104 1.0 1.1
105 1.0 1.1
106 1.0 1.1
107 1.0 1.1
108 1.0 1.1
109 1.0 1.0
110 1.0 1.0

Over the last 30 years, mortality differences between males and females have decreased, especially for people in their 20s and between 50 and 75 years of age. For example, the probability of dying for males in their early 20s was 3.6 times higher than that of females in 1980/1982, compared with 2.5 times higher in 2011/2013. Many factors account for this trend. The three most significant are a reduction in violent deaths among male teenagers and young adults; better treatments for cardiovascular disease; and an increasing similarity between the behaviour of women and men, particularly as regards smoking, alcohol consumption and work-related stress.

More and more people are surviving to advanced ages

Survival probabilities between any two ages can be computed with data on the number of survivors, available in Statistics Canada’s complete life tables. 

As seen in Figure 9, more and more people are surviving to advanced ages. Over the last 30 years, the survival curves in the life tables have taken an increasingly rectangular shape. Although men have not caught up with women in terms of survival, they experienced more progress during this period. For example, the 2011/2013 period life table shows that 87% of male newborns and 92% of female newborns would survive to age 65 if, throughout their lives, they experienced the age-specific probabilities of dying observed during this period. In 1980/1982, these proportions were only 75% among males and 86% among females, which means that there has been a 12 percentage point increase for males and a 6 percentage point increase for females.

Figure 9 Survival probabilities by age and sex, Canada, 1980/1982 and 2011/2013

Data table for Figure 9
Figure 9
Survival probabilities by age and sex, Canada, 1980/1982 and 2011/2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Survival probabilities by age and sex. The information is grouped by Age (appearing as row headers), 1980/1982, 2011/2013, Males and Females, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age 1980/1982 2011/2013
Males Females Males Females
number
0 100,000 100,000 100,000 100,000
1 98,902 99,152 99,484 99,555
2 98,828 99,090 99,456 99,528
3 98,766 99,042 99,436 99,510
4 98,714 99,003 99,421 99,496
5 98,668 98,971 99,408 99,486
6 98,628 98,943 99,397 99,477
7 98,593 98,919 99,388 99,469
8 98,560 98,897 99,380 99,462
9 98,530 98,877 99,371 99,455
10 98,501 98,858 99,363 99,448
11 98,473 98,839 99,355 99,439
12 98,444 98,819 99,346 99,430
13 98,410 98,798 99,335 99,420
14 98,370 98,774 99,321 99,407
15 98,317 98,745 99,303 99,393
16 98,243 98,709 99,278 99,375
17 98,141 98,666 99,243 99,353
18 98,015 98,618 99,198 99,328
19 97,874 98,571 99,145 99,301
20 97,726 98,525 99,084 99,273
21 97,573 98,481 99,018 99,243
22 97,419 98,438 98,946 99,213
23 97,267 98,395 98,871 99,182
24 97,119 98,351 98,795 99,151
25 96,978 98,306 98,720 99,120
26 96,844 98,260 98,646 99,090
27 96,716 98,211 98,572 99,059
28 96,592 98,161 98,499 99,027
29 96,470 98,109 98,426 98,993
30 96,348 98,055 98,352 98,958
31 96,225 97,999 98,276 98,920
32 96,101 97,940 98,199 98,879
33 95,973 97,878 98,119 98,835
34 95,842 97,812 98,037 98,789
35 95,707 97,741 97,953 98,740
36 95,565 97,662 97,866 98,690
37 95,417 97,576 97,776 98,637
38 95,259 97,481 97,681 98,582
39 95,089 97,376 97,580 98,522
40 94,903 97,260 97,471 98,456
41 94,697 97,133 97,352 98,383
42 94,468 96,993 97,221 98,300
43 94,215 96,839 97,077 98,207
44 93,933 96,670 96,920 98,103
45 93,621 96,484 96,747 97,987
46 93,275 96,281 96,558 97,859
47 92,893 96,059 96,351 97,717
48 92,472 95,816 96,126 97,563
49 92,007 95,551 95,880 97,394
50 91,495 95,262 95,612 97,210
51 90,932 94,947 95,321 97,012
52 90,314 94,605 95,005 96,798
53 89,636 94,232 94,662 96,567
54 88,894 93,827 94,288 96,316
55 88,082 93,386 93,882 96,046
56 87,196 92,905 93,440 95,753
57 86,231 92,383 92,959 95,435
58 85,180 91,815 92,435 95,090
59 84,040 91,197 91,865 94,715
60 82,804 90,526 91,245 94,308
61 81,468 89,796 90,570 93,864
62 80,025 89,003 89,836 93,382
63 78,473 88,142 89,037 92,856
64 76,805 87,207 88,167 92,283
65 75,019 86,194 87,221 91,658
66 73,111 85,095 86,192 90,976
67 71,080 83,906 85,075 90,231
68 68,923 82,619 83,861 89,417
69 66,641 81,228 82,543 88,528
70 64,235 79,727 81,115 87,556
71 61,708 78,109 79,567 86,493
72 59,065 76,367 77,893 85,332
73 56,313 74,496 76,084 84,063
74 53,461 72,490 74,133 82,676
75 50,519 70,343 72,032 81,162
76 47,502 68,051 69,776 79,510
77 44,424 65,612 67,357 77,709
78 41,304 63,024 64,774 75,748
79 38,163 60,287 62,022 73,616
80 35,021 57,403 59,102 71,302
81 31,902 54,378 56,016 68,796
82 28,832 51,221 52,771 66,091
83 25,836 47,943 49,378 63,178
84 22,939 44,559 45,850 60,055
85 20,164 41,091 42,210 56,721
86 17,537 37,562 38,483 53,180
87 15,076 34,001 34,701 49,443
88 12,800 30,443 30,905 45,527
89 10,722 26,925 27,137 41,460
90 8,852 23,488 23,450 37,276
91 7,195 20,174 19,895 33,022
92 5,751 17,035 16,538 28,768
93 4,516 14,123 13,446 24,603
94 3,482 11,482 10,672 20,620
95 2,633 9,141 8,255 16,904
96 1,950 7,152 6,176 13,475
97 1,414 5,474 4,487 10,462
98 1,004 4,094 3,161 7,895
99 697 2,987 2,157 5,780
100 473 2,125 1,422 4,098
101 313 1,472 906 2,808
102 203 992 557 1,857
103 128 649 331 1,184
104 79 413 189 727
105 47 255 104 430
106 28 153 56 245
107 16 89 29 134
108 9 50 14 71
109 5 27 7 36
110 3 14 3 18

Interestingly, the probabilities of survival, by age, of women in 1980/1982, are similar to those of men in 2011/2013, illustrating the extent of the gap in mortality between the sexes.

The probability of surviving between ages 65 and 85 was 48% among males and 62% among females in 2011/2013—much higher than in 1980/1982, when it was 27% for males and 48% for females.

The mortality patterns observed during the 2011/2013 period indicate that the chances of a newborn reaching 100 years of age was 1.4% for males and 4.1% for females. In 1980/1982, 31 years earlier, both males and females had roughly half the chance of surviving to age 100—0.5% for males and 2.1% for females.

Infant mortality has fallen sharply since the 1920s

Infant mortality—that is, the mortality rate for children under 1 year of age—has decreased sharply since 1921. For example, a child born in 2013 was 20 times more likely to celebrate his or her first birthday than a child born in 1921 in Canada (Figure 10). In 1921, infant mortality was 102.2 per 1,000 live births, meaning that 1 in 10 children did not reach 1 year of age. The infant mortality rate in 2013 was much lower, at 5.0 deaths per 1,000 live births, but similar to the average for the 10 preceding years. Deaths during the first year of life totalled 1,884 in 2013, up from 2012 (1,818 deaths).

Figure 10 Infant, neonatal, early neonatal and less than a day mortality rates, Canada, 1926 to 2013

Data table for Figure 10
Figure 10
Infant, neonatal, early neonatal and less than a day mortality rates,
Canada, 1926 to 2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Infant. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Infant mortality
(less than a year), Neonatal mortality
(less than a month), Early neonatal mortality
(less than a week) and Less than a day, calculated using per 1,000 births units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Infant mortality
(less than a year)
Neonatal mortality
(less than a month)
Early neonatal mortality
(less than a week)
Less than a day
per 1,000 births
1926 101.7 46.2 33.0 Note ...: not applicable
1927 94.6 43.7 30.5 Note ...: not applicable
1928 90.3 42.5 30.7 Note ...: not applicable
1929 93.0 43.1 30.1 Note ...: not applicable
1930 90.6 42.6 29.3 Note ...: not applicable
1931 86.1 41.5 28.0 Note ...: not applicable
1932 74.6 37.9 26.0 Note ...: not applicable
1933 74.1 37.4 25.8 Note ...: not applicable
1934 72.8 35.5 24.3 Note ...: not applicable
1935 72.5 35.3 24.4 Note ...: not applicable
1936 67.8 33.9 23.8 Note ...: not applicable
1937 77.4 34.4 23.8 Note ...: not applicable
1938 64.3 31.7 22.9 Note ...: not applicable
1939 61.4 30.9 21.9 Note ...: not applicable
1940 57.6 29.9 21.4 Note ...: not applicable
1941 61.1 30.7 21.6 Note ...: not applicable
1942 55.4 28.1 19.9 Note ...: not applicable
1943 55.0 29.8 21.5 Note ...: not applicable
1944 56.3 29.5 20.5 Note ...: not applicable
1945 52.5 28.8 19.9 Note ...: not applicable
1946 47.8 27.4 19.7 Note ...: not applicable
1947 46.3 26.5 19.3 Note ...: not applicable
1948 44.4 25.6 18.7 Note ...: not applicable
1949 43.4 24.0 18.4 Note ...: not applicable
1950 41.6 24.4 19.3 Note ...: not applicable
1951 38.6 22.6 18.0 Note ...: not applicable
1952 38.3 22.8 17.9 Note ...: not applicable
1953 35.7 21.4 17.0 Note ...: not applicable
1954 32.0 19.3 15.9 Note ...: not applicable
1955 31.3 19.4 15.9 Note ...: not applicable
1956 32.0 20.2 16.8 Note ...: not applicable
1957 31.1 20.3 16.9 Note ...: not applicable
1958 30.2 19.3 16.3 Note ...: not applicable
1959 28.4 18.5 15.7 Note ...: not applicable
1960 27.3 17.6 15.3 Note ...: not applicable
1961 27.2 18.0 15.8 Note ...: not applicable
1962 27.5 18.7 16.4 Note ...: not applicable
1963 26.3 18.1 16.0 Note ...: not applicable
1964 24.6 17.3 15.5 Note ...: not applicable
1965 23.6 16.3 14.7 Note ...: not applicable
1966 23.1 16.1 14.4 Note ...: not applicable
1967 22.0 15.2 13.6 Note ...: not applicable
1968 20.8 14.8 13.2 Note ...: not applicable
1969 19.4 13.9 12.5 Note ...: not applicable
1970 18.8 13.5 12.1 Note ...: not applicable
1971 17.6 12.4 10.9 Note ...: not applicable
1972 17.1 11.9 10.4 Note ...: not applicable
1973 15.6 10.8 9.4 Note ...: not applicable
1974 15.0 10.1 8.9 5.9
1975 13.7 9.2 8.1 5.9
1976 13.1 8.8 7.7 4.9
1977 12.4 8.2 7.2 4.7
1978 12.0 8.1 6.8 4.4
1979 10.9 7.3 6.1 4.0
1980 10.5 6.7 5.7 3.8
1981 9.6 6.4 5.5 3.7
1982 9.1 6.0 5.0 3.6
1983 8.5 5.5 4.7 3.2
1984 8.1 5.2 4.3 3.0
1985 8.0 5.2 4.4 3.0
1986 7.9 5.1 4.2 2.9
1987 7.3 4.5 3.8 2.7
1988 7.2 4.6 3.8 2.7
1989 7.1 4.7 3.9 2.7
1990 6.8 4.6 3.8 2.7
1991 6.4 4.1 3.4 2.3
1992 6.1 4.0 3.4 2.2
1993 6.3 4.2 3.4 2.4
1994 6.3 4.2 3.5 2.1
1995 6.1 4.2 3.4 2.4
1996 5.6 3.9 3.3 2.3
1997 5.5 3.9 3.2 2.4
1998 5.3 3.7 3.0 2.1
1999 5.3 3.6 3.0 2.2
2000 5.3 3.6 2.9 2.2
2001 5.2 3.8 3.1 2.3
2002 5.4 3.9 3.2 2.5
2003 5.3 3.9 3.3 2.5
2004 5.3 4.0 3.4 2.7
2005 5.4 4.1 3.4 2.7
2006 5.0 3.7 3.1 2.5
2007 5.1 3.8 3.2 2.6
2008 5.1 3.7 3.1 2.5
2009 4.9 3.7 3.1 2.5
2010 5.0 3.8 3.1 2.6
2011 4.9 3.6 3.0 2.5
2012 4.8 3.6 3.0 2.4
2013 5.0 3.8 3.1 2.5

The infant mortality rate can vary considerably from one province or territory to another (Table 3). In 2013, the highest rate was in Nunavut, at 16.4 deaths per 1,000 live births, and the lowest was in Prince Edward Island, at 2.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. In recent years, only British Columbia has had an infant mortality rate consistently below 4.0 deaths per 1,000 live births. Infant mortality in this province was 3.7 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013.

Table 3
Number and rate of infant mortality, Canada, provinces and territories, 1981 to 2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Number and rate of infant mortality. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), N.L., P.E.I., N.S., N.B., Que., Ont., Man., Sask., Alta., B.C., Y.T., N.W.T., Nvt., Unknown and Canada, calculated using number and rate per 1,000 units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year N.L. P.E.I. N.S. N.B. Que. Ont. Man. Sask. Alta. B.C. Y.T. N.W.T. Nvt. Unknown Canada
number
1981 98 25 139 114 807 1,073 191 203 452 424 8 28 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period 0 3,562
1986 s 13 104 81 604 969 157 157 393 355 12 28 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period 0 2,938
1991 56 13 69 58 578 953 111 126 285 298 6 20 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period 0 2,573
1996 38 8 59 40 396 802 104 112 236 237 0 19 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period 0 2,051
2001 23 10 50 31 349 713 98 68 210 168 3 3 12 1 1,739
2002 21 2 36 27 346 681 98 67 283 183 3 7 8 0 1,762
2003 23 7 49 29 322 692 111 76 265 170 2 4 15 0 1,765
2004 23 6 40 30 342 735 97 74 236 175 4 0 12 1 1,775
2005 28 3 34 28 353 745 94 99 286 183 0 3 7 0 1,863
2006 24 3 34 28 415 674 88 75 238 171 3 7 10 1 1,771
2007 34 7 29 31 379 723 111 77 296 176 3 3 12 0 1,881
2008 25 3 32 24 379 753 101 85 317 166 2 7 13 4 1,911
2009 31 5 31 43 389 705 100 96 284 161 3 11 13 0 1,872
2010 26 5 41 25 440 695 106 84 299 166 2 1 12 0 1,902
2011 28 6 43 25 399 664 120 97 267 171 0 5 24 0 1,849
2012 25 5 40 40 441 684 92 80 223 166 1 3 18 0 1,818
2013 29 3 29 33 438 681 93 111 285 161 1 5 15 0 1,884
rate per 1,000
1981 10.8 13.2 11.5 10.9 8.5 8.8 11.9 11.8 10.6 10.2 14.9 21.5 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period Note ...: not applicable 9.6
1986 8.5 6.7 8.4 8.3 7.1 7.2 9.2 9.0 9.0 8.5 24.8 18.6 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period Note ...: not applicable 7.9
1991 7.8 6.9 5.7 6.1 5.9 6.3 6.4 8.2 6.7 6.5 10.6 12.2 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period Note ...: not applicable 6.4
1996 6.6 4.7 5.6 4.9 4.6 5.7 6.7 8.4 6.2 5.1 0.0 12.2 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period Note ...: not applicable 5.6
2001 4.9 7.3 5.6 4.3 4.7 5.4 7.0 5.5 5.6 4.1 8.7 4.9 16.9 Note ...: not applicable 5.2
2002 4.5 1.5 4.2 3.8 4.8 5.3 7.1 5.7 7.3 4.6 8.8 11.0 11.0 Note ...: not applicable 5.4
2003 5.0 4.9 5.7 4.1 4.4 5.3 8.0 6.3 6.6 4.2 6.0 5.7 19.8 Note ...: not applicable 5.3
2004 5.1 4.3 4.6 4.3 4.6 5.5 7.0 6.2 5.8 4.3 11.0 0.0 16.1 Note ...: not applicable 5.3
2005 6.2 2.2 4.0 4.1 4.6 5.6 6.6 8.3 6.8 4.5 0.0 4.2 10.0 Note ...: not applicable 5.4
2006 5.3 2.1 4.0 4.0 5.1 5.0 6.0 6.1 5.3 4.1 8.2 10.2 13.4 Note ...: not applicable 5.0
2007 7.5 5.0 3.3 4.3 4.5 5.2 7.3 5.8 6.0 4.0 8.5 4.1 15.1 Note ...: not applicable 5.1
2008 5.1 2.0 3.5 3.2 4.3 5.4 6.5 6.2 6.2 3.8 5.4 9.7 16.2 Note ...: not applicable 5.1
2009 6.3 3.4 3.4 5.8 4.4 5.0 6.3 6.7 5.5 3.6 7.8 15.5 14.8 Note ...: not applicable 4.9
2010 5.3 3.6 4.6 3.4 5.0 5.0 6.7 5.9 5.9 3.8 5.2 1.4 14.5 Note ...: not applicable 5.0
2011 6.3 4.2 4.9 3.5 4.5 4.7 7.7 6.8 5.2 3.9 0.0 7.2 28.7 Note ...: not applicable 4.9
2012 5.7 3.8 4.6 5.7 5.0 4.8 5.6 5.4 4.2 3.8 2.3 4.4 21.4 Note ...: not applicable 4.8
2013 6.4 2.1 3.4 4.7 4.9 4.9 5.6 7.5 5.3 3.7 2.5 7.5 16.4 Note ...: not applicable 5.0

Infant mortality can be broken down into three categories: early neonatal mortality (death in the 1st week of life), neonatal mortality (death in the 1st month of life) and post-neonatal mortality (death between the 1st and 12th month of life). In 2013, in Canada, nearly two-thirds (63%) of deaths occurring in the first year of life actually occurred in the first week of life, with an additional 13% occurring in the remainder of the first month of life. Thus, roughly three in four deaths (76%) occurred before the beginning of the second month of life. The remaining infant deaths (24%) occurred after the first month of life but before either the first birthday or the end of the calendar year. In comparison, 50 years earlier (in 1963), the corresponding proportions were 61% for the first week of life and 8% for the remainder of the first month of life. In addition, roughly half (50.7%) of the 1,884 infants who died in Canada in 2013 died within 24 hours of birth.

Since 1926, the decline in the infant mortality rate has mainly been to the result of the decline in infant mortality after the first month of life. Deaths occurring in the first month (neonatal mortality) are usually caused by congenital malformations or by problems during birth (endogenous mortality). Deaths occurring between the ages of 1 month and 1 year are more often attributable to external events such as illnesses or accidents (exogenous mortality) (Bourgeois-Pichat 1951), which are generally avoidable causes of death and are more likely to be influenced by advances in medical technology.

Winter deaths were 16% more numerous than summer deaths in 2013

In 2013, there were, on average, 21,028 deaths in Canada per month and 691 deaths per day (Figure 11). The highest daily average was in January, with 826 deaths per day.

Figure 11 Average daily number of deaths, by month, Canada, 2013

Data table for Figure 11
Figure 11
Average daily number of deaths, by month, Canada, 2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average daily number of deaths. The information is grouped by Month (appearing as row headers), Average daily number of deaths (appearing as column headers).
Month Average daily number of deaths
January 826
February 740
March 704
April 696
May 665
June 639
July 648
August 631
September 645
October 673
November 695
December 736

The second‑highest daily average was in February, at 740 deaths.Note 3 November, December, January, February, March and April each had an average daily number of deaths higher than the average. The lowest daily average numbers of deaths were in June (639 deaths per day) and August (631 deaths per day).

A winter/summer ratio, as proposed by Rau (2017), in which the total number of winter deaths (January to March) is divided by the total number of summer deaths (July to September), provides an indication of the seasonal increase in winter deaths (Figure 12). A value of 1 indicates no seasonal difference in total deaths. The ratio for Canada in 2013 was 1.16, meaning that deaths in winter were 16% more numerous than they were in the summer. From 1974 to 2013, the winter/summer ratio for all deaths in Canada averaged 1.11, ranging from a high of 1.24 in 1998 to a low of 1.02 in 1979.

Figure 12 Winter to summer death ratio, Canada, 1974 to 2013

Data table for Figure 12
Figure 12
Winter to summer death ratio, Canada, 1974 to 2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Winter to summer death ratio. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Ratio (appearing as column headers).
Year Ratio
1974 1.04
1975 1.14
1976 1.14
1977 1.06
1978 1.11
1979 1.02
1980 1.09
1981 1.05
1982 1.05
1983 1.10
1984 1.06
1985 1.11
1986 1.13
1987 1.03
1988 1.12
1989 1.08
1990 1.10
1991 1.08
1992 1.10
1993 1.13
1994 1.15
1995 1.14
1996 1.12
1997 1.19
1998 1.24
1999 1.22
2000 1.15
2001 1.11
2002 1.10
2003 1.09
2004 1.16
2005 1.18
2006 1.09
2007 1.15
2008 1.13
2009 1.12
2010 1.06
2011 1.14
2012 1.10
2013 1.16

According to Rau (2007), the three main causes of death responsible for the increased mortality during the winter are “cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory diseases. The latter group has the strongest seasonal pattern among all major groups of causes of death.” Cold temperatures have a physiological impact on the human body, and cold temperatures combined with low relative humidity create an ideal environment for influenza virus transmission (Lowen et al. 2007). Furthermore, winter brings about behavioural changes that exacerbate respiratory ailments. People are more likely to congregate in heated houses, which increases the risk of droplet transmission of infectious agents. 

Figure 13 shows the average monthly number of deaths in Canada from January 2004 to December 2013. Each year, there is a large number of deaths in the winter months. In the last 10 years, this fluctuation was particularly significant in the winter of 2012/2013, but is also noticeable in the winter of 2010/2011. By way of explanation, an analysis of the variation in the 10 leading causes of death reveals that the increase in the number of deaths from 2012 to 2013 was linked mainly to mortality from influenza and pneumonia (15.1%) (Statistics Canada 2013). Among the other leading causes, deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases showed the second‑largest increase from 2012 to 2013, at 7.6%.

Figure 13 Average number of deaths by month in Canada, 2004 to 2013

Data table for Figure 13
Figure 13
Average number of deaths by month in Canada, 2004 to 2013
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average number of deaths by month in Canada. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Month and Number (appearing as column headers).
Year Month Number
2004 January 21,441
February 20,342
March 19,591
April 19,250
May 17,857
June 18,046
July 17,631
August 17,034
September 17,838
October 18,893
November 18,815
December 19,875
2005 January 22,176
February 21,354
March 20,461
April 19,437
May 18,771
June 18,038
July 17,768
August 17,636
September 17,588
October 18,487
November 18,888
December 19,597
2006 January 19,741
February 19,973
March 19,966
April 19,047
May 18,783
June 18,028
July 17,703
August 17,894
September 18,175
October 19,282
November 19,392
December 20,137
2007 January 21,510
February 21,961
March 20,927
April 19,662
May 18,921
June 18,422
July 18,365
August 17,814
September 18,417
October 18,801
November 19,599
December 20,968
2008 January 20,965
February 21,021
March 21,237
April 21,021
May 19,490
June 18,549
July 18,402
August 18,243
September 18,699
October 19,808
November 20,237
December 20,961
2009 January 21,831
February 20,892
March 20,742
April 19,902
May 19,513
June 18,829
July 18,381
August 18,459
September 18,605
October 20,182
November 20,531
December 20,589
2010 January 20,915
February 20,540
March 20,559
April 20,221
May 19,457
June 18,741
July 19,186
August 18,753
September 19,326
October 20,543
November 20,275
December 21,564
2011 January 22,714
February 21,948
March 21,554
April 20,633
May 19,828
June 19,240
July 18,932
August 18,777
September 19,033
October 19,898
November 20,290
December 20,762
2012 January 22,038
February 21,222
March 21,121
April 20,747
May 20,053
June 19,236
July 19,168
August 19,424
September 19,437
October 20,451
November 20,720
December 22,958
2013 January 25,114
February 22,519
March 21,421
April 21,172
May 20,215
June 19,437
July 19,709
August 19,193
September 19,624
October 20,460
November 21,147
December 22,383

Bibliography

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Bourbeau, R. and J. Légaré. 1997.  La baisse de la mortalité au Québec au début du XXe siècle : les distorsions de la vision transversale, presented at the Dixièmes Entretiens du Centre Jacques Cartier, Lyon, December 7 to 10, 1997.

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Trovato, F. and N.M. Lalu. 1995. “Narrowing sex differential in life expectancy in Canada since 1971”, Canadian Studies in Population, volume 22, no. 2, pages 145 to 167.

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