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Deaths and causes of death, 2013

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Released: 2017-03-09

The total number of deaths in Canada reached 252,338 in 2013, the highest annual total since the introduction of the Vital Statistics registration system in the 1920s. Every province and territory reported a record high number of deaths in 2013, except Manitoba and the Northwest Territories.

The increase in the number of deaths was tied to two factors. The first is population growth, as a larger population generates a higher number of deaths. The second factor is population aging, as the share of the population concentrated in older ages, when mortality is higher, increases.

The number of male and female deaths have been converging over the last three decades. There were 126,973 male and 125,365 female deaths recorded in 2013, both up from the 124,235 male and 122,361 female deaths in 2012.

Cancer and heart disease remain the two leading causes of death

Cancer and heart disease remained the two leading causes of death for both men and women in 2013, a pattern observed since 2000. Together, these two diseases were responsible for nearly half of all deaths in Canada.

While their rankings have differed somewhat since 2000, the other eight leading causes of death in 2013 remained stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents (unintentional injuries), diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, Alzheimer's disease, suicide and kidney diseases.

Together, the 10 leading causes of death were responsible for three-quarters of all deaths in 2013, down from 2000, when they accounted for 80% of all deaths.

  Note to readers

Data on deaths and causes of death are collected by the Canadian Vital Statistics – Death Database. It is an administrative survey that collects demographic and medical (cause of death) information annually from all provincial and territorial vital statistics registries on all deaths in Canada.

The data are used to calculate basic indicators (such as counts and rates) on deaths of residents of Canada. Information from this database is also used in the calculation of statistics, such as cause-specific death rates and life expectancy.

Data for reference year 2013 from the Canadian Vital Statistics – Death Database are now available.


The fact sheets "The 10 leading causes of death, 2013" and "Trends in mortality rates, 2000 to 2013" from the publication Health Fact Sheets (Catalogue number82-625-X), are now available.

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