Credit: STATEC

In its latest report, Luxembourg's statistical institute STATEC has confirmed that the Grand Duchy recorded the highest death rate in a decade in 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the number of deaths in Luxembourg was significant last year, with 4,609 resident deaths (all causes combined) recorded, i.e. 326 more deaths than in 2019. The death rate observed in 2020 was the highest recorded for ten years. This increase in deaths was a little more noticeable among men and mainly concerned people over 75 years old.

Prior to the first COVID-19-realted death on 13 March 2020, mortality last year followed earlier trends. Luxembourg, like many other countries, has experienced declining mortality over the decades. This lower mortality at the start of 2020 was mainly due to a particularly mild winter that did not experience a real flu episode. This was especially true for the month of February and the first half of March.

The number of deaths occurring between January and mid-March was 899 in 2020, compared to 1,072 in 2018 and 966 in 2019. This lower number of deaths was in part due to the fact that the month of February 2020 (330 deaths) experienced a lower mortality rate compared to previous years, especially since this month had an additional day, with 2020 being a leap year. There was a decrease of 26.5% compared to 2018 (449) and 16.4% compared to 2019 (395).

Since the declaration of the first COVID-19-related death and since the end of December 2020, STATEC has counted 3,749 deaths, which corresponds to an average excess of deaths of 438 compared to the two previous years (3,350 deaths for this period in 2019 and 3,272 in 2018). This additional number of deaths largely coincides with the number of deaths officially due to COVID-19 during this period in Luxembourg. Whilst the number of deaths recorded in January, February, June and July 2020 was lower or comparable to that recorded on average over the last three years, a higher number of deaths was observed for the other months. In November 2020, there were 155 additional deaths compared to the 2017/2019 average.

The mortality rate was 7.3% in 2020, a rate comparable to that recorded in the early 2010s. 

During the first quarter of 2021, STATEC recorded 1,223 deaths: 440 deaths in January, 362 in February and 421 in March. This figure is 8.7% higher than that recorded during the first quarter of 2020 (1,125 deaths) but lower than the figures for 2018. This increase is also linked to population growth which was 1.4% during this period.

Among the deaths observed in 2021, men were slightly more represented (50.5%) than women. The average age of those who died was 80.6 years for women and 74.9 years for men. During the first quarter of 2021, a quarter of deaths were in people under the age of 70 while another quarter were recorded among people aged 89 and over.