You asked

Under the freedom of information act please confirm the following annual death rates for both 2019 and 2020

Total number of deaths

Total number of deaths by suicide

Total number of deaths from cancer ( all types)

We said

Thank you for your enquiry.

Deaths involving leading causes of cancer and total deaths for 2019 can be obtained from our NOMIS webservice. Please see the following data, extracted from this service:

Please see the following link to our end of year blog, which provides the total number of deaths registered in 2020 in England and Wales:

A full ICD-10 code (cause of death) breakdown of 2020 causes of death will be available in July with the publication of the Deaths Registered Series. Therefore, analysis showing the number of deaths from cancer in 2020 is considered exempt under Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), whereby information is exempt from release if there is a view to publish the information in the future. Furthermore, as a central government department and producer of official statistics, we need to have the freedom to be able to determine our own publication timetables. This is to allow us to deal with the necessary preparation, administration and context of publications. It would be unreasonable to consider disclosure when to do so would undermine our functions.

This exemption is subject to a public interest test. We recognise the desirability of information being freely available and this is considered by ONS when publication schedules are set in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics. The need for timely data must be balanced against the practicalities of applying statistical skill and judgement to produce the high quality, assured data needed to inform decision-making. If this balance is incorrectly applied, then we run the risk of decisions being based on inaccurate data which is arguably not in the public interest. This will have an impact on public trust in official statistics in a time when accuracy of official statistics is more important to the public than ever before.

In case it is of interest, the following publication contains the analysis on deaths from the top-ten leading causes of death for 2020: Monthly Mortality Analysis. This can be found in Tables 11a and 11b. However, this does not contain analysis on deaths from cancer.


Our statistics are based on the date of registration, therefore our annual Suicides in the UK release is based on 2019 death registrations.

Most of these deaths require an inquest, where the coroner investigates the death. The amount of time it takes to hold an inquest causes a lag between the date of death and the date of death registration, referred to as a registration delay. Registration delays for deaths caused by suicide tend to be 5 to 6 months on average.

We produce provisional suicide data for England on a quarterly basis, with the next update including deaths that have been registered from January to June of 2020. This is for deaths registered in 2020, and due to the registration delay described above, most of these deaths would have occurred in 2019.

Suicides in the UK 2020 will be published in September 2021 and are therefore also considered exempt under Section 22 of the FOIA.