Historical mortality

Published online: 
10 August 2020
Historical mortality.

The Historical mortality web tool presents mortality data (numbers and age-standardised rates) by sex for certain causes of death from 1948 to 2016. Mortality data by sex, age group and ethnicity (Māori and non-Māori) is presented from 1996 to 2016.

The web tool enables you to explore trends over time using interactive graphs and tables. Filtered results and the full data set can be downloaded from within the web tool.

The causes of death included are:

  • All cancer
  • Ischaemic heart disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  • Other forms of heart disease
  • Influenza and Pneumonia
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Intentional self-harm
  • Assault
  • All deaths.

The full data set presented in the web tool is available for you to download in text file format.

 A technical document accompanies the web tool. This document contains information about the data source and analytical methods used to produce summary data, and a data dictionary for variables used in the web tool.

About the data used in this edition

Data from 1948 to 1995 presented in these tables was sourced from publications in the Ministry of Health Mortality data and stats series. Data from 1996 to 2016 was extracted from the New Zealand Mortality Collection records on 25 February 2020. 

Ethnic breakdowns of mortality data are only shown from 1996 onwards because there was a significant change in the way ethnicity was defined, and in the way ethnicity data was collected in 1995. For more information please refer to the Ministry of Health report, Mortality and Demographic Data 1996.


In this edition, data for causes of death was extracted and recalculated for the years 1996–2016 to reflect ongoing updates to data in the New Zealand Mortality Collection (for example, following the release of coroners’ findings) and the revision of population estimates and projections following each census. For this reason there may be small changes to some numbers and rates from those presented in previous publications and tables.

We have quality checked the collection, extraction, and reporting of the data presented here. However errors can occur. Contact the Ministry of Health if you have any concerns regarding any of the data or analyses presented here, at [email protected]

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    10 August 2020
  • Citation:
    Ministry of Health. 2020. Historical mortality (data was extracted from the New Zealand Mortality Collection on 25 February 2020). Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:

    Owned by the Ministry of Health and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.

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