By Joshua Robinson –
Research by Final Duties, the UK’s most experienced probate brokers, reveals that more people died in the week leading up to Christmas compared to any other week of the year in 2022, with December also accounting for another of 2022’s most deadly weeks of the year.
Final Duties analysed weekly death rates in England and Wales for all 52 weeks of last year and how this weekly rate compared to the average death rate seen over the year.
The data reveals that in 2022, an average of 11,094 people died each week across England and Wales.
However, in the week ending 23rd December, 14,530 people passed away. This death rate is 31% higher than the 2022 weekly average.
The week ending on the 16th December saw the sixth-highest number of weekly deaths, with 12,389 recorded deaths sitting 11.7% above the average weekly death rate for the year.
Why is December So Deadly?
There are several potential reasons as to why the number of deaths is higher in the run-up to the Christmas period.
Firstly is the issue of colder weather which can be particularly dangerous for the elderly. Not only can cold be a contributing factor, but icy conditions can also lead to more accidents outside of the home.
It’s also likely that mental health issues, such as depression caused by loneliness, are heightened at this time of year.
Furthermore, the festive period often sees people travelling more than usual, either to visit family or do some Christmas shopping, which puts more traffic on the roads and can increase the danger for both road users and pedestrians alike.
Another factor could be the increased rate of drinking and partying at this time of year which increases the chance of fights, altercations and other alcohol-influenced incidents.
Beware of January:
Sadly, the situation doesn’t get much better after Christmas with January accounting for four of the ten most deadly weeks seen in 2022.
The week ending 14th January was the second-most deadly week of the year, with 13,311 recorded deaths in 2022 – sitting 20% above the weekly average for the year.
The following weeks from January were ranked:
- The week ending 21st January (12,776) ranked 3rd most deadly week of 2022.
- The 28th January (12,401) ranked 5th most deadly week of 2022.
- The 7th January (12,262) ranked as the 7th most deadly week of 2022.
Advice for Staying Safe this Christmas:
To stay safe this Christmas, and to help friends, neighbours, and loved ones stay safe as well, there are several things that can be done.
Make sure to check in on any elderly or vulnerable friends or neighbours who might struggle in the cold weather. Visit them and make sure the house is warm and they’re generally able to prepare food and protect themselves against the elements.
When travelling, allow plenty of time to reach your destination. The risk of traffic accidents rises when people are in a rush, so have patience on the roads.
It’s also important to make sure cars are up to the job of driving in cold, adverse weather conditions. So it may be worth getting it checked by a professional, especially when undergoing a long journey to see friends or family this Christmas.
When attending Christmas parties, watch your alcohol intake, as well as that of those around you. Do not drink and drive under any circumstances, and respond to any drunken aggression from others by quietly and politely walking away.
Finally, when experiencing any signs of depression or heightened anxiety around the festive period, there is support available, such as the Samaritans, Support Line and the NHS has an abundance of resources to help.
Managing Director of Final Duties, Jack Gill, commented: “Nobody wants to think about death at Christmas. It’s meant to be a time of joy and celebration. But we can’t ignore the fact that there is traditionally a high death rate that comes at this time of year.”
“By acknowledging it, we can take precautions against it by considering our behaviour and choices carefully, especially when travelling and partying. And we can also keep an eye on our neighbours, ensuring we are there for each other at what can be a truly difficult time for so many.”
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