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Cause of Death Statistics

Published Updated

Illustrasjonsfoto: Colourbox.com
Illustrasjonsfoto: Colourbox.com

The Cause of Death Registry covers all deaths in Norway, regardless of whether the deceased are registered as inhabitants in Norway or not. Deaths of Norwegians who die abroad are also registered.

All deaths (about 40 000 each year) are reported by doctors who are required to complete a death certificate.

The official cause of death statistics are based on these death certificates and are prepared in accordance with the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), World Health Organization). With this system, mortality in different countries can be compared and the development of various causes of death can be followed over time, e.g. for heart attacks, cancer, accidents and suicide.

Norway implemented the 10th revision of ICD in 1996. Death certificates are run through a semi-automatic coding programme which selects the underlying cause of death according to the rules set by WHO. This programme, IRIS, was introduced in Norway in 2011. To ensure that the Cause of Death Registry provides valid data, the diagnoses on the death certificate are examined and controlled to check that they are plausible for a person of the specified age or sex.

How can I find statistics from the Cause of Death Registry?

The Cause of Death Registry contains data from 1951, and in the statistics bank you will find tables dating back to 1969 for causes of death, with 11 predefined tables. You can (with some restrictions) choose different variables to create your own tables. If you need more detailed tables/data, you must apply to the NIPH.

NIPH has its own online application form which should be used when applying for data. The application and its purpose will be controlled and the necessary permits will be checked.

Project leaders at research institutions can apply for data for research projects and to write scientific articles.

Researchers will normally receive de-identified or anonymised data persondata according to the laws in this area (Cause of Death Registry regulations, Health Research Act and Personal Data Act).

To receive data from the Cause of Death Registry, the following requirements must be met:

  • There must be at least one responsible institution behind the application 
  • Each project must have one project leader, who is responsible for the project (including safe storage of the data) 
  • A contact person from NIPH is assigned to all projects

The applicant must specify which Cod-variables are needed for the project and which other data sources will be used. It is also necessary to specify the required data format. The application must include details about the project members, and the name and address of the project leader. Documentation of the right to couple files from other data sources, such as Statistics Norway or the Cancer Registry of Norway, must be attached to the application. 

If this coupling of files is not regulated by a law, the project needs approval from the Regional Comittee for Medical and Health Research Ethics.