Suicide is the biggest killer of 5-19 year-olds in England and Wales

Suicide is the biggest killer of 5-19 year-olds in the UK (Getty Images)

Suicide is the number one cause of death for young people aged 5-19 in England and Wales, new data released today reveals.

The ONS research found that ‘suicide and injury/poisoning of undetermined intent’ accounted for 15.2% of deaths among males and 9.6% of deaths among females in this age bracket in 2016.

Top five leading causes of death for 5-19 year olds in 2016

Shockingly, the data also revealed that murder is the fifth biggest cause of death of boys aged 5-19.

Homicide and probable homicide was the cited as the cause of death for 4.6% of boys in this age bracket who died in 2016.

5-year-old Alex Malcolm was battered to death by his mother’s boyfriend Marvyn Iheanacho in 2016 (PA Images)

Five-year-old Alex Malcolm was battered to death by his stepfather Marvyn Iheanacho, who flew into a rage after Alex dropped one of his shoes.

Suicide was also the biggest killer of 20-34 year-olds males in 2016.

11.3% of deaths among men in this age group were caused by suicide, a small increase on 2015 where suicide accounted for 11.8% of deaths.


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Breast cancer remains the biggest killer of women aged 20-34, accounting for 13.4% of deaths.

The statistics come from the Office of National Statistics’ ‘Deaths registered in England and Wales‘ dataset for 2016.

Overall in the population the biggest cause of death is dementia and Alzheimer’s, making up 12% of deaths, followed by Ischaemic heart diseases, then cerebrovascular diseases (strokes).

Number of deaths from top five leading causes in 2016

People living longer thanks to improved lifestyles and advances in medical treatment contributes the the increase in deaths caused by these illnesses.

As people live longer and survive other illnesses, the number of people developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is increasing.

A better understanding of the diseases and improved diagnoses is also likely to have increased reporting of dementia on death certificates.

Statistician Vasita Patel said: ‘Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was once again the leading cause of death for England and Wales in 2016, with an increase in number of deaths compared with 2015.

‘Although general increases in longevity and improved treatment of other conditions are part of the reason for this increase, improvements in recognition, identification and diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have also contributed.’