Joint Programming Initiative

More Years, Better Lives

The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change

Death Statistics according to Cause of Death
Defunciones según causa de la muerte

Health and Performance
Relevance for this Topic
Country Spain
More Topics


Contact information

Luis de Ándres Ramos
Instituto Nacional de Estadística (Spanish, Statistical Office, INE)
Castellana 183 mod 0207
28046 Madrid
Phone: 91 583 91 00
Fax: 91 583 91 58
Email: infoine(at)

Timeliness, transparency

The reference period is annual although information is provided by month of death. The complete publication is released fourteen months after the data has been collected.

Type of data


Type of Study

Cross-section, regular

Data gathering method


Access to data

Users can make requests for microdata files for scientific purposes. After analyszing its feasibility, users can be granted access to the information under strict conditions of confidentiality. - Free access to general tables in Spanish and English, disaggregated at national, regional, provincial and capital cities levels and months (in some cases) -Anonymised microdata files, including causes of death (1976-2011)

Conditions of access

Anonymised microdata and general tables can be accessed for free. Fees for data requests in some cases.

It takes about one to two weeks to receive the microdata.

Anonymised microdata. Aggregated and elaborated tables.

Microdata: txt Tables dates : PC-Axis, CSV, Excel. ASCII zip file following a register design file (EXCEL format)

The website is in Spanish and English, but some technical documents and record design files are only available in Spanish. Methodological information can be accessed in Spanish and English at:, as well as the Press Notes ( and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10) Version for 2010 ( Notes for general use and the media are available in English.


Every deceased person is recorded in the year when the death occurred. The disease classifications are applied according to the standards applicable in every moment (1975-1979 CIE-8, 1980-1998 CIE 9, 1999-2011 CIE 10).

Data have been digitised since 1975. The deaths according to cause of death from 1900 to 1975 can be found in a book.

All recorded deaths

The information is obtained either via an administrative act (recording of the death or birth in the Civil Register) or a judicial act (communication of the burial order by the Court dealing with the case not due to natural causes). Information is collected via the following documents: Statistical Birth Bulletin (BEP), Medical Death Certificate/ Statistical Death Bulletin (CMD/BED) and Judicial Statistical Death Bulletin (BEDJ).

Deaths occurring in the Spanish territory Breakdowns in tables: place of residence and place of occurrence by NUTS 3

DCM records all deaths that occur in the country.

These data are representative for all regions and provinces, smaller geographical units, and for all population groups.

- It covers all deaths in the Spanish territory and refers to the current year of data collection (disaggregated by months). - Basic variables (deaths and late foetal deaths occurring in the reference year) and derived indicators (standardised rates and potential years of life lost) - Reference to suicides - Classification variables (basic cause of death, age (or weeks of gestation), sex, nationality, and place of residence) To make comparisons between different geographical areas, a set of standardized calculated rates, such as the mortality rate by cause of death at regional level and the potential lost years of life, have been developed. Data are compiled into mortality tables according to causes on a national, autonomous and provincial level. Also, different mortality indicators are available (standardised rates and potential years of lost life). The classification variables are age groups, sex, month of death, size of the municipality, nationality, place of residence, and causes of death (according to an extended list – ICD10 - and a short list – 102 causes).

• Fierro Lorenzo, I. et al. ”Mortalidad y mortalidad prematura relacionadas con el consumo de alcohol en España entre 1999 y 2004”. Medicina Clínica 131(1): (2008): 10-13. • Flores-Mateo, G. et al. “Analyzing the Coronary Heart Disease Mortality Decline in a Mediterranean Population: Spain 1988-2005”..Revista Española de Cardiología (English Edition) 64(11) (2011): 988–996. Available at:
• Oliva, J. “Pérdidas de producción laboral ocasionadas por los fallecimientos prematuros en España en el año 2005”. Revista Española de Salud Pública 83 (2009): 123-135. Available at:
• Ruiz, M.A. et al. ”Comparabilidad entre la novena y la décima revisión de la Clasificación Internacional de Enfermedades aplicada a la codificación de la causa de muerte en España”. Gaceta sanitaria: Organo oficial de la Sociedad Española de Salud Pública y Administración Sanitaria 16(6) (2002): 526-531.


It follows the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), as defined by the Committee of the World Health Organisation, implemented in Spain in 1951 (ICD-6 version), 1961 (ICD-7), 1968 (ICD-8), 1980 (ICD-9) and 1999 (ICD-10).

The anonymisation process of the data does not allow for linkage with other databases.

Data quality

The Civil Register is required, as a legal obligation, to register all deaths, ensuring almost complete coverage of statistics of all deaths in the Spanish territory. Information gathered is reliable as the collection process is enhanced by the collaboration formalized through agreements with all regions and by the coverage and control debugging procedures.

The results of the statistics of deaths by cause of death are comparable in time to the variable underlying cause of death provided that it relates to the same version of the International Classification of Diseases. Therefore, changes can be detected according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) in different years such as 1968-1979 (ICD-8), 1980-1998 (ICD-9) and 1999 onwards (ICD-10).

Recent conceptual changes were set up to follow the World Health Organisation and Eurostat standards (
) For the encoding used, the WHO recommends annual updates.


The death statistic according to cause of death constitutes one of the most important sources of health information. As death is a consequence of biological causes, but having economic, health-related or social consequences, information available on the number of deaths occurring in a country is essential to facilitate policies from health administrations and other social stakeholders. These data allow for territorial comparisons by cause of death group to be made and for health indicators recommended by international organisations to be created. Strengths: This registry is available on a national level for policy issues as it is an official administrative data source and anonymised data can be used for free. It is also in line with European and international standards and uses good quality statistical procedures. Weaknesses: The temporal homogeneity is ensured when data are fully comparable under the same CIE classifications.

  • The information about this dataset was compiled by the author:
  • Vicente Rodríguez
  • (see Partners)