Report on the Demographic Situation in Canada
Mortality: Overview, 2014 to 2016

by Rufteen Shumanty

Release date: June 28, 2018

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Highlights

  • The number of deaths recorded in Canada in a single year reached its highest level in 2016: 267,213.
  • In 2016, the number of deaths in winter was 11% higher than the number of deaths during the summer.
  • In 2016, the infant mortality rate in Canada established to 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births, the same value as in 2015. It’s the lowest rate on record in Canada.
  • More than half (52%) of the infants (children less than one year old) who died in Canada in 2016 died within 24 hours of birth.
  • Life expectancy at birth has improved significantly since the early 20th century, peaking in the 2014/2016 period (79.9 years for men and 84.0 years for women).

Key indicators in Canada

  • Number of deaths in 2016:
    Total: 267,213
    Men: 135,772
    Women: 131,441
  • Infant mortality rate in 2016:
    4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births
  • Life expectancy at birth in 2014/2016:
    Both sexes: 82.0 years
    Men: 79.9 years
    Women: 84.0 years
  • Life expectancy at age 65 in 2014/2016:
    Both sexes: 20.8 years
    Men: 19.3 years
    Women: 22.1 years
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This article presents data on deaths in Canada and analyzes recent trends in mortality, including variations at the provincial and territorial levels. Data from Statistics Canada’s Demographic Estimates Program (DEP) were used as denominators to calculate various indicators. As numerators, data on the number of deaths come from the Canadian Vital Statistics Deaths Database (Survey 3233).Note 1 The life tables for the periods from 1980/1982 to 2014/2016 are found in the publication Life Tables, Canada, Provinces and Territories (catalogue no. 84-537).

The overview of mortality in Canada is developed using several indicators, including the number of deaths, crude and standardized mortality rates, life expectancy at different ages, probabilities of dying, infant mortality rates and seasonality of deaths. Where relevant, the data are also analyzed by province and territory, as well as by age and sex.

Number of deaths, crude and standardized mortality rates

There were 267,213 deaths in Canada in 2016. This is the highest level since the Vital Statistics registration system was introduced in the 1920s. The number of deaths recorded each year in Canada is generally trending upward (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Number of deaths, crude and standardized mortality rates, Canada, 2007 to 2016

Data table for Figure 1
Data table for Figure 1
Number of deaths, crude and standardized mortality rates, Canada, 2007 to 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Number of deaths. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Number of deaths, Crude mortality rates and Standardized mortality rates based on 2016, calculated using number and per 1,000 units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Number of deaths Crude mortality rates Standardized mortality rates based on 2016
number per 1,000
2007 235,217 7.2 9.5
2008 238,617 7.2 9.2
2009 238,418 7.1 8.9
2010 240,075 7.1 8.6
2011 243,511 7.1 8.3
2012 246,596 7.1 8.1
2013 252,338 7.2 7.9
2014 258,821 7.3 7.7
2015 264,333 7.4 7.6
2016 267,213 7.4 7.4

The increase in the number of deaths can mostly be explained by two factors: population growth (a larger population generates a higher number of deaths) and population aging, which tends to increase the concentration of people at advanced ages, where the mortality is higher. This concentration should increase in the coming years because of the aging of the baby-boom cohort, i.e., those born between 1946 and 1965, and its sizable demographic weight in the Canadian population.

The crude mortality rate (number of deaths per 1,000 population) was 7.4 per 1,000 in 2016. It has been relatively stable since 2007, averaging 7.2 per 1,000. The aging population age structure puts strong upward pressure on this rate. Conversely, the evolution of the age-standardized mortality rate,Note 2 irrespective of the changes in the population age structure, shows that the intensity of mortality has gradually declined over time. And so, over the last 10 years, the standardized rate fell from 9.5 per 1,000 in 2007 to 7.4 per 1,000 in 2016, a 22% decrease (Figure 1).

Table 1
Number of deaths and crude mortality rate, Canada, provinces and territories, 2007 to 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Number of deaths and crude death rate. 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. 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. Canada
number
2007 4,505 1,147 8,353 6,324 56,521 87,340 9,958 9,062 20,202 31,308 192 174 129 235,217
2008 4,539 1,201 8,220 6,450 57,106 88,041 10,073 9,243 21,079 32,095 198 201 147 238,617
2009 4,391 1,268 8,227 6,366 57,769 88,468 9,972 8,972 20,987 31,440 201 186 162 238,418
2010 4,481 1,116 8,295 6,312 58,806 89,282 9,985 9,205 20,755 31,324 198 184 132 240,075
2011 4,527 1,253 8,533 6,411 59,539 89,976 10,250 9,262 21,242 31,966 193 188 171 243,511
2012 4,635 1,231 8,415 6,443 60,774 90,740 10,062 9,204 22,001 32,524 206 200 161 246,596
2013 4,837 1,284 8,878 6,627 61,289 93,343 10,095 9,333 22,844 33,200 215 199 194 252,338
2014 4,986 1,286 8,746 6,822 63,195 95,939 10,709 9,393 23,360 33,791 206 213 175 258,821
2015 5,239 1,261 9,371 7,226 64,159 97,322 10,684 9,394 23,846 35,246 217 208 160 264,333
2016 5,002 1,148 8,994 7,165 63,515 99,419 10,743 9,414 24,548 36,627 218 237 183 267,213
rate per 1,000
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 7.2
2014 9.4 8.8 9.3 9.0 7.7 7.0 8.4 8.4 5.7 7.3 5.6 4.9 4.9 7.3
2015 9.9 8.6 10.0 9.6 7.8 7.1 8.2 8.3 5.7 7.5 5.8 4.7 4.4 7.4
2016 9.4 7.7 9.5 9.5 7.6 7.1 8.2 8.2 5.8 7.7 5.7 5.3 4.9 7.4

Similar to Canada, an upward trend in the number of deaths was observed in the provinces and territories (Table 1), although some regions, most of which have smaller populations, have recorded a decline in certain years. The number of recorded deaths in 2016 reached unprecedented levels in 5 out of the 10 provinces, that is, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

Number of deaths by sex

In 2016, there were more male deaths (135,772) than female deaths (131,441) (Figure 2). The gap between sexes has narrowed over the last three decades because female deaths have been increasing faster than male deaths. This trend is partly explained by women’s lifestyles becoming similar to men’s, such as labor market participation.

In 2016, the age at which the highest number of deaths was registered was 84 years for males and 90 years for females. For males, three-quarters (75%) of deaths occurred at age 65 or older, compared with 84% for females.

Figure 2 Number of deaths by sex, Canada, 2007 to 2016

Data table for Figure 2
Data table for Figure 2
Number of deaths by sex, Canada, 2007 to 2016
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
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
2014 130,761 128,060
2015 133,441 130,892
2016 135,772 131,441

Seasonality of deaths

In 2016, there were on average 22,268 deaths in Canada per month and 730 deaths on average per day (Figure 3). The highest daily average was registered in December, with 788 deaths per day.

Figure 3 Average daily number of deaths by month, Canada, 2016

Data table for Figure 3
Data table for Figure 3
Average daily number of deaths by month, Canada, 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average daily number of deaths by month. The information is grouped by Month (appearing as row headers), Number (appearing as column headers).
Month Number
January 765
February 768
March 773
April 742
May 710
June 680
July 673
August 685
September 693
October 740
November 745
December 788

In 2016, the second-highest daily average was in March, at 773 deaths.Note 3 October, November, December, January, February, March and April each had an average daily number of deaths higher than the annual average. The lowest daily average number of deaths was recorded in July (673 deaths per day).

According to Rau (2007), the death peaks in the winter are linked to three main causes of death which are cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory diseases. The latter group has the strongest seasonal pattern among all major groups of causes of death (Rau 2007). Cold temperatures have a physiological impact on the human body, and cold temperatures combined with low relative humidity rates are ideal 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 (Evans 1991; Glezen and Couch 1997). 

The winter/summer ratio, as proposed by Rau (2017), is the number of winter deaths (January to March) divided by the number of summer deaths (July to September). A value of one indicates no seasonal difference in total deaths. In 2016, the ratio for Canada was 1.11, meaning that there were 11% more deaths in the winter than in the summer (Figure 4). From 2007 to 2016, the winter/summer ratio for all deaths in Canada averaged 1.13, ranging from a low of 1.06 in 2010 to a high of 1.20 in 2015.

Figure 4 Winter to summer death ratio, Canada, 2007 to 2016

Data table for Figure 4
Data table for Figure 4
Winter to summer death ratio, Canada, 2007 to 2016
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
2007 1.15
2008 1.13
2009 1.12
2010 1.06
2011 1.14
2012 1.10
2013 1.16
2014 1.10
2015 1.20
2016 1.11

Life expectancy in Canada

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Period life expectancy

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

Period life expectancy provides a snapshot of mortality irrespective of the age structure. Life expectancy at a given age is the average number of years someone of that age can expect to live. At Statistics Canada, life expectancy is based on age-specific mortality rates calculated using three-year data. It can be used to track mortality changes in Canada in provinces and territories while minimizing fluctuations related to small populations.

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. The life expectancy of a specific cohort can only be calculated once that cohort is almost or totally extinct.

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In Canada, life expectancy at birth has risen significantly over the years and reached a peak in 2014/2016 at 82.0 years for both sexes (Table 2). In 2014/2016, life expectancy at birth has reached 84.0 years for women and 79.9 years for men. It’s an increase of 0.1 year, for each sex, compared to the values recorded for the period 2013/2015.

Every year over the past 10 years, life expectancy at birth has increased an average of 2.4 months for men and 1.7 months for women (Figure 5). However, the recent gains have been smaller, for example, from 2011/2013, its 1.2 months among men and 0.8 months among female. After peaking at 7.4 years at the end of the 1970s, the gap in life expectancy at birth between men and women decreased to 4.1 years in 2014/2016. Men have caught up with women mostly because the gaps in mortality associated with cardiovascular disease between men and women narrowed (Waldron 1993; Trovato and Lalu 1995; Pampel 2002; Meslé 2004; Trovato and Heyen 2006; Trovato 2007, cited in Bourbeau and Ouellet 2016). Among women, cardiovascular disease is often associated with them adopting similar lifestyles to men, such as labour market participation, smoking levels and alcohol consumption (Pampel 2002; Trovato and Heyen 2006; Trovato 2007).

Table 2
Life expectancy at birth, at age 65 and at age 85, males, females and both sexes, Canada, 2005/2007 to 2014/2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Life expectancy at birth. The information is grouped by Period (appearing as row headers), At birth, At age 65, At age 85, Males, Females and Both sexes, calculated using in years units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Period At birth At age 65 At age 85
Males Females Both sexes Males Females Both sexes Males Females Both sexes
in years
2005/2007 78.1 82.7 80.5 17.9 21.0 19.6 5.7 7.1 6.6
2006/2008 78.3 82.9 80.7 18.0 21.2 19.7 5.8 7.2 6.7
2007/2009 78.5 83.0 80.8 18.2 21.3 19.9 5.8 7.2 6.7
2008/2010 78.8 83.3 81.1 18.4 21.5 20.1 6.0 7.3 6.8
2009/2011 79.1 83.5 81.4 18.6 21.6 20.3 6.1 7.4 6.9
2010/2012 79.4 83.6 81.6 18.8 21.8 20.4 6.2 7.5 7.0
2011/2013 79.6 83.8 81.7 19.0 21.9 20.5 6.3 7.5 7.1
2012/2014 79.7 83.9 81.8 19.1 22.0 20.6 6.3 7.6 7.1
2013/2015 79.8 83.9 81.9 19.2 22.0 20.7 6.4 7.6 7.2
2014/2016 79.9 84.0 82.0 19.3 22.1 20.8 6.5 7.7 7.3

Figure 5 Life expectancy at birth by sex and difference between sexes, Canada, 2005/2007 to 2014/2016

Data table for Figure 5
Data table for Figure 5
Life expectancy at birth by sex and difference between sexes, Canada, 2005/2007 to 2014/2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Life expectancy at birth by sex and difference between sexes. The information is grouped by Period (appearing as row headers), Males, Females and Difference, calculated using in years units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Period Males Females Difference
in years
2005/2007 78.1 82.7 4.6
2006/2008 78.3 82.9 4.6
2007/2009 78.5 83.0 4.5
2008/2010 78.8 83.3 4.5
2009/2011 79.1 83.5 4.4
2010/2012 79.4 83.6 4.2
2011/2013 79.6 83.8 4.2
2012/2014 79.7 83.9 4.2
2013/2015 79.8 83.9 4.1
2014/2016 79.9 84.0 4.1

Life expectancy at age 65 has also increased over the last 10 years, reaching 19.3 years for men and 22.1 years for women (Table 2). By way of comparison, in 2005/2007, it was 17.9 years for men and 21.0 years for women. Since 2005/2007, declining mortality rates beyond age 65 has accounted for roughly 78% of the gains in life expectancy at birth for men (1.4 year of the 1.8-year gain) and for 85% for women (1.1 year of the 1.3-year gain). The 2014/2016 period life table shows that 90% of newborns would survive to age 65 if, throughout their lives, they were exposed to the mortality risks observed during this period. Since 2004/2006, the probability of surviving between ages 65 and 85 has increased from 51% to 57%.

Based on data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada ranked 16th among OECD countries, with a life expectancy at birth of 81.7 years for both sexes combined. The highest life expectancies at birth in 2015 were in Japan (83.9 years), Spain and Switzerland (83.0 years) and Italy (82.6 years) (OECD 2017).

Life expectancy in the provinces and territories

The highest life expectancies at birth among provinces and territories for 2014/2016 were in British Columbia and Ontario at 82.5 years for both sexes combined. For the first time since 1992/1994, life expectancy at birth among men in British Columbia has been exceeded by another province which is Ontario (Figure 6). However, British Columbia has led the other provinces and territories since the 1994/1996 period for women (84.6 years in 2014/2016).

In 2014/2016, the lowest life expectancies are in the territories. The lowest life expectancy in the country was in Nunavut, where men could expect to live 70.3 years and women 73.1 years. The difference in life expectancy at birth with Canada was 9.6 years for men and 10.9 years for women.

Figure 6 Life expectancy at birth by sex, Canada, provinces and territories, 2014/2016

Data table for Figure 6
Data table for Figure 6
Life expectancy at birth by sex, Canada, provinces and territories, 2014/2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Life expectancy at birth by sex. The information is grouped by Region (appearing as row headers), Males and Females, calculated using in years units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Region Males Females
in years
Canada 79.9 84.0
Newfoundland and Labrador 77.2 81.7
Prince Edward Island 79.7 83.8
Nova Scotia 78.2 82.7
New Brunswick 78.6 82.9
Quebec 80.4 84.2
Ontario 80.5 84.5
Manitoba 77.9 82.2
Saskatchewan 77.9 82.6
Alberta 79.3 83.7
British Columbia 80.4 84.6
Yukon 76.0 82.1
Northwest Territories 75.2 79.8
Nunavut 70.3 73.1

Mortality gaps between men and women by age

Over a lifespan, the probabilities of death, representing the probability of an individual dying at each age, follow a pattern similar to a checkmark: the probability of death is higher in the first year of life, then quickly decreases to the lowest level between ages 1 and 14 (Figure 7). The probability then reaches a higher level between approximately 15 and 24 years of age (especially among males), mainly because of violent deaths such as accidents and suicides. After that, probability of death increases steadily with age.

Figure 7 Death probabilities by age and sex, Canada, 2014/2016

Data table for Figure 7
Data table for Figure 7
Death probabilities by age and sex, Canada, 2014/2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Death probabilities by age and sex. The information is grouped by Age (appearing as row headers), Males and Females, calculated using death probability (logarithmic scale) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age Males Females
death probability
0 0.00477 0.00425
1 0.00029 0.00025
2 0.00020 0.00018
3 0.00015 0.00013
4 0.00012 0.00010
5 0.00010 0.00009
6 0.00008 0.00008
7 0.00008 0.00007
8 0.00008 0.00007
9 0.00008 0.00007
10 0.00009 0.00008
11 0.00010 0.00009
12 0.00012 0.00010
13 0.00014 0.00012
14 0.00018 0.00014
15 0.00024 0.00017
16 0.00032 0.00021
17 0.00040 0.00024
18 0.00048 0.00026
19 0.00056 0.00027
20 0.00063 0.00028
21 0.00070 0.00029
22 0.00075 0.00031
23 0.00078 0.00032
24 0.00080 0.00033
25 0.00081 0.00034
26 0.00082 0.00035
27 0.00083 0.00037
28 0.00085 0.00038
29 0.00087 0.00040
30 0.00090 0.00042
31 0.00092 0.00045
32 0.00094 0.00047
33 0.00096 0.00049
34 0.00097 0.00051
35 0.00099 0.00053
36 0.00100 0.00056
37 0.00104 0.00059
38 0.00109 0.00063
39 0.00116 0.00069
40 0.00126 0.00077
41 0.00137 0.00085
42 0.00150 0.00095
43 0.00163 0.00105
44 0.00178 0.00116
45 0.00194 0.00127
46 0.00211 0.00140
47 0.00230 0.00153
48 0.00251 0.00167
49 0.00273 0.00181
50 0.00297 0.00197
51 0.00324 0.00213
52 0.00353 0.00231
53 0.00384 0.00251
54 0.00419 0.00273
55 0.00458 0.00297
56 0.00500 0.00323
57 0.00546 0.00353
58 0.00597 0.00385
59 0.00654 0.00420
60 0.00716 0.00460
61 0.00784 0.00503
62 0.00860 0.00552
63 0.00943 0.00605
64 0.01035 0.00665
65 0.01137 0.00731
66 0.01249 0.00804
67 0.01374 0.00886
68 0.01512 0.00977
69 0.01665 0.01078
70 0.01834 0.01192
71 0.02022 0.01318
72 0.02230 0.01460
73 0.02461 0.01619
74 0.02719 0.01796
75 0.03004 0.01995
76 0.03322 0.02219
77 0.03676 0.02470
78 0.04070 0.02753
79 0.04509 0.03071
80 0.04999 0.03429
81 0.05545 0.03833
82 0.06155 0.04290
83 0.06836 0.04805
84 0.07597 0.05389
85 0.08448 0.06049
86 0.09400 0.06798
87 0.10466 0.07647
88 0.11660 0.08611
89 0.12999 0.09706
90 0.14500 0.10953
91 0.16144 0.12340
92 0.17895 0.13844
93 0.19748 0.15467
94 0.21698 0.17208
95 0.24064 0.19566
96 0.26161 0.21597
97 0.28319 0.23733
98 0.30520 0.25958
99 0.32747 0.28255
100 0.34979 0.30602
101 0.37196 0.32977
102 0.39379 0.35355
103 0.41510 0.37713
104 0.43572 0.40027
105 0.45551 0.42276
106 0.47435 0.44440
107 0.49216 0.46504
108 0.50886 0.48455
109 0.52443 0.50284
110 1.00000 1.00000

Probabilities of dying are generally higher for males than for females. In 2014/2016, excess male mortality was more pronounced among those aged 16 to 80, with ratios of 1.5 and higher (Figure 8). The gap was highest among young men 19 to 31 years, whose probability of dying was 2.3 times higher on average than women of the same age.

Figure 8 Ratio of probabilities of dying between females and males by age, Canada, 2005/2007 and 2014/2016

Data table for Figure 8
Data table for Figure 8
Ratio of probabilities of dying between females and males by age, Canada, 2005/2007 and 2014/2016
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), 2005/2007 and 2014/2016, calculated using ratio units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age 2005/2007 2014/2016
ratio
0 1.2 1.1
1 1.4 1.2
2 1.3 1.2
3 1.3 1.1
4 1.2 1.1
5 1.2 1.1
6 1.2 1.1
7 1.2 1.1
8 1.2 1.1
9 1.3 1.1
10 1.3 1.1
11 1.3 1.1
12 1.4 1.1
13 1.4 1.2
14 1.5 1.3
15 1.6 1.4
16 1.8 1.5
17 1.9 1.7
18 2.1 1.9
19 2.4 2.1
20 2.6 2.2
21 2.7 2.4
22 2.8 2.4
23 2.8 2.5
24 2.8 2.4
25 2.7 2.4
26 2.6 2.3
27 2.5 2.3
28 2.4 2.2
29 2.3 2.2
30 2.2 2.1
31 2.1 2.1
32 2.1 2.0
33 2.0 2.0
34 2.0 1.9
35 1.9 1.9
36 1.9 1.8
37 1.8 1.8
38 1.8 1.7
39 1.7 1.7
40 1.7 1.6
41 1.7 1.6
42 1.6 1.6
43 1.6 1.6
44 1.6 1.5
45 1.5 1.5
46 1.5 1.5
47 1.5 1.5
48 1.5 1.5
49 1.5 1.5
50 1.5 1.5
51 1.5 1.5
52 1.6 1.5
53 1.6 1.5
54 1.6 1.5
55 1.6 1.5
56 1.6 1.5
57 1.6 1.5
58 1.6 1.6
59 1.6 1.6
60 1.6 1.6
61 1.6 1.6
62 1.6 1.6
63 1.6 1.6
64 1.6 1.6
65 1.6 1.6
66 1.6 1.6
67 1.6 1.6
68 1.6 1.5
69 1.6 1.5
70 1.6 1.5
71 1.6 1.5
72 1.6 1.5
73 1.6 1.5
74 1.6 1.5
75 1.6 1.5
76 1.6 1.5
77 1.6 1.5
78 1.6 1.5
79 1.5 1.5
80 1.5 1.5
81 1.5 1.4
82 1.5 1.4
83 1.5 1.4
84 1.5 1.4
85 1.5 1.4
86 1.4 1.4
87 1.4 1.4
88 1.4 1.4
89 1.4 1.3
90 1.4 1.3
91 1.3 1.3
92 1.3 1.3
93 1.3 1.3
94 1.3 1.3
95 1.3 1.2
96 1.3 1.2
97 1.2 1.2
98 1.2 1.2
99 1.2 1.2
100 1.2 1.1
101 1.2 1.1
102 1.1 1.1
103 1.1 1.1
104 1.1 1.1
105 1.1 1.1
106 1.1 1.1
107 1.1 1.1
108 1.1 1.1
109 1.1 1.0
110 1.0 1.0

However, over the last 10 years, excess male mortality has decreased at all ages, particularly between 9 and 29 years of age. For example, the probability of dying for males in their early twenties was 2.6 times higher than that of females in 2005/2007, compared with 2.2 times higher in 2014/2016.

Infant mortality

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Various infant mortality indicators

Infant mortality (before 1 year of age): death during the first year of life.
Less than one day: death during the first 24 hours of life.
Early neonatal mortality (0 to 6 days): death during the first week of life.
Late neonatal mortality (7 to 27 days): death between the first week and the first month of life.
Neonatal mortality (0 to 27 days): death during the first month of life.
Post-neonatal mortality (28 to 364 days): death between the first and twelfth month of life.

End of text box

In 2016, the infant mortality rate in Canada established to 4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births, the same value as in 2015. It’s the lowest rate on record in Canada. Mortality in children younger than one year old has decreased sharply in recent decades; a child born in Canada in 1926 was 22 times more likely to die before his first birthday than a child born in 2016 (Figure 9). Back then, infant mortality was 101.7 per 1,000 live births, meaning that 1 in 10 children did not make it to age one. Over the last 10 years, the infant mortality rate has remained virtually unchanged, averaging 4.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Figure 9 Infant, neonatal, early neonatal and less than a day mortality rates, Canada, 1926 to 2016

Data table for Figure 9
Data table for Figure 9
Infant, neonatal, early neonatal and less than a day mortality rates, Canada, 1926 to 2016
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 rate per 1,000 live 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
rate per 1,000 live births
1926 101.7 46.2 33.0 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1927 94.6 43.7 30.5 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1928 90.3 42.5 30.7 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1929 93.0 43.1 30.1 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1930 90.6 42.6 29.3 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1931 86.1 41.5 28.0 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1932 74.6 37.9 26.0 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1933 74.1 37.4 25.8 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1934 72.8 35.5 24.3 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1935 72.5 35.3 24.4 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1936 67.8 33.9 23.8 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1937 77.4 34.4 23.8 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1938 64.3 31.7 22.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1939 61.4 30.9 21.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1940 57.6 29.9 21.4 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1941 61.1 30.7 21.6 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1942 55.4 28.1 19.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1943 55.0 29.8 21.5 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1944 56.3 29.5 20.5 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1945 52.5 28.8 19.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1946 47.8 27.4 19.7 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1947 46.3 26.5 19.3 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1948 44.4 25.6 18.7 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1949 43.4 24.0 18.4 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1950 41.6 24.4 19.3 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1951 38.6 22.6 18.0 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1952 38.3 22.8 17.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1953 35.7 21.4 17.0 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1954 32.0 19.3 15.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1955 31.3 19.4 15.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1956 32.0 20.2 16.8 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1957 31.1 20.3 16.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1958 30.2 19.3 16.3 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1959 28.4 18.5 15.7 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1960 27.3 17.6 15.3 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1961 27.2 18.0 15.8 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1962 27.5 18.7 16.4 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1963 26.3 18.1 16.0 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1964 24.6 17.3 15.5 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1965 23.6 16.3 14.7 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1966 23.1 16.1 14.4 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1967 22.0 15.2 13.6 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1968 20.8 14.8 13.2 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1969 19.4 13.9 12.5 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1970 18.8 13.5 12.1 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1971 17.6 12.4 10.9 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1972 17.1 11.9 10.4 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
1973 15.6 10.8 9.4 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
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
2014 4.7 3.6 3.0 2.4
2015 4.5 3.5 3.0 2.5
2016 4.5 3.4 2.9 2.3

Changes in neonatal mortality

Nearly 52% of the 1,741 infants who died in Canada in 2016 died within the first day of life. Roughly 12% of these infants died between 1 and 6 days of life, and 11% between 7 and 27 days of life (Figure 10). Therefore, deaths occurring in the first month of life accounted for 74% of all deaths that occurred in the first year of life in Canada in 2016. In comparison, 30 years earlier, the corresponding proportions were 37% for the first day of life, 17% between 1 and 6 days, and 11% between 7 and 27 days. The proportion of deaths occurring within 24 hours of birth has grown since the 1980s; these deaths are often the result of congenital anomalies or pregnancy complications which are difficult to treat (endogenous mortality).

Figure 10 Component of neonatal mortality in infant mortality (during the first month), Canada, 1987 to 2016

Data table for Figure 10
Data table for Figure 10
Component of neonatal mortality in infant mortality (during the first month), Canada, 1987 to 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Component of neonatal mortality in infant mortality (during the first month). The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Less than a day (24 hours), Between 1 and 6 days and Between 7 and 27 days, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Less than a day (24 hours) Between 1 and 6 days Between 7 and 27 days
percent
1987 36.4 15.5 10.2
1988 37.9 15.3 10.3
1989 37.4 16.6 11.4
1990 39.1 16.2 12.3
1991 36.5 16.4 10.8
1992 36.7 18.5 9.7
1993 37.5 16.9 11.5
1994 33.8 21.9 11.9
1995 38.4 17.4 12.5
1996 40.6 18.1 11.6
1997 43.5 14.9 12.0
1998 39.1 18.4 12.2
1999 41.7 15.8 11.3
2000 42.0 13.4 13.3
2001 43.7 15.2 13.6
2002 46.3 14.2 12.0
2003 48.4 13.8 12.8
2004 51.3 12.6 11.8
2005 49.3 12.8 13.5
2006 50.9 10.2 12.1
2007 50.6 12.9 11.5
2008 49.0 12.0 12.1
2009 51.7 11.7 11.6
2010 51.2 11.3 13.5
2011 50.9 10.9 12.3
2012 49.9 12.8 12.4
2013 50.8 12.0 13.1
2014 51.8 13.0 12.9
2015 54.7 11.7 11.5
2016 51.5 11.8 10.8

International comparison of infant mortality in Canada

Because of variations in the methods used to register deaths, special caution should be exercised when interpreting international comparisons of infant mortality. For example, as opposed to the method used in Canada, several countries only register the deaths of babies weighing 500 grams or more; the deaths of babies who weighed very little and stood almost no chance of survival at birth are not counted. Therefore, for most countries, the OECD publishes infant mortality rates covering children with a birth weight of at least 500 grams. For comparison purposes, adjusted infant mortality rates for Canada are used and exclude live births with a birth weight of less than 500 grams.

In 2015, the adjusted infant mortality rateNote 4 in Canada was lower than the averages for European Union countries (EU) and for OECD countries. The average for the EUNote 5 was 3.7 and the average for OECD countriesNote 6 was 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared with 3.4 in Canada.

In 2015, Slovenia ranked first among OECD countries with 1.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, followed by Finland (1.7), Iceland (2.0) and Japan (2.1). Canada ranked 20th with 3.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Infant mortality in the provinces and territories

In 2016, infant mortality rates decreased in most provinces and territories. Infant mortality varies considerably from one province or territory to another (Table 3). In 2016, the lowest rate was in British Columbia, at 3.4 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the highest rate was in Nunavut (17.7 deaths per 1,000 live births). From 2007 to 2016, the infant mortality rate in Nunavut was nearly three times the national average. Over the last 10 years, the highest infant mortality rates among the provinces have been, on average, in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Table 3
Number and rate of infant mortality, Canada, provinces and territories, 2007 to 2016
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. 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. Canada
number
2007 34 7 29 31 379 723 111 77 296 176 3 3 12 1,881
2008 25 3 32 24 379 753 101 85 317 166 2 7 13 1,911
2009 31 5 31 43 389 705 100 96 284 161 3 11 13 1,872
2010 26 5 41 25 440 695 106 84 299 166 2 1 12 1,902
2011 28 6 43 25 399 664 120 97 267 171 0 5 24 1,849
2012 25 5 40 40 441 684 92 80 223 166 1 3 18 1,818
2013 29 3 29 33 438 681 93 111 285 161 1 5 15 1,884
2014 28 2 38 28 383 641 103 88 275 187 2 4 15 1,794
2015 21 3 34 27 417 618 107 81 262 148 4 4 11 1,737
2016 19 10 41 34 368 659 93 90 248 156 3 4 16 1,741
rate per 1,000
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 5.0
2014 6.1 1.4 4.4 4.0 4.4 4.6 6.2 5.7 4.9 4.2 4.9 6.0 16.7 4.7
2015 4.7 2.2 4.1 4.1 4.8 4.4 6.4 5.3 4.6 3.3 9.2 5.9 12.8 4.5
2016 4.3 7.1 4.9 5.1 4.3 4.7 5.5 5.8 4.4 3.4 6.8 6.2 17.7 4.5

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