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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Mortality rate is 'lowest ever'
Screaming baby
Birth rates are rising
The proportion of people dying in England and Wales is at its lowest ever, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures have shown.

In 2004, the number of deaths dropped by 5.4% to 7,576 per million for men and 5.5% to 5,279 for women.

There were 514,250 deaths registered, 4.6% fewer than the 539,151 in 2003.

That was the lowest since 1954, when 501,896 were registered. The ONS has stressed it is part of a long-term decline in mortality rates.

In infant deaths, there were 3,272 registered, a rate of 5.1 per 1,000 live births, down from 5.3 in 2003.

Birth rates are also rising - with a 2.9% rise to 639,721 live births, after 621,469 last year.

Of those, 42.2% were to unmarried couples, continuing a rising trend on 41.4% in 2003 and 32.4% in 1994.


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