AUTHORED BY RICHARD BROWN, ERIK PICKETT, DANIEL REDDY, December 17, 2019
Do more people die in the winter than the summer?
For Canada, the UK and the US, the short answer is yes. How many more depends on the location. The bar chart shows the ratio of winter deaths to summer deaths in the UK, Canada and the US. Surprisingly, the UK sees the largest ratio of winter deaths to summer deaths over the period we have measured, despite having the least variation in temperatures1.
Winter is defined as the beginning of December in the previous year to the end of February. Summer is defined as the beginning of June to the end of August. The 2013-2017 period was chosen as the most recent 5 year period where data was available for all locations. Data sources:
England and Wales: ONS Deaths registered monthly in England and Wales
Scotland: NRS Monthly Data on Births and Deaths Registered in Scotland
Northern Ireland: NISRA Monthly Deaths
Canada: StatCan Monthly death data by province/territory
US: CDC State monthly death data
But what happens if we zoom in closer?
The maps below show the ratios of winter deaths to summer deaths for the US, Canada and the UK, split by state for the US, province for Canada and by Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, and Wales for the UK.
Source: as previous chart
1 The range of average historical monthly high and low UK temperatures is 33°F (18°C) compared to 52°F (29°C) for the US and 69°F (38°C) for Canada. (Source: www.weatherbase.com)