The most popular day to die is 6 January, according to new research from after life services website Beyond.
Since 2005, more people have died on the sixth day of the new calendar year than on any other, at an average of 1,732 – 25 percent more than the overall daily average of 1,387 deaths per day.
All 10 of the most common days to die fall in either the first two weeks or the final week of the year, with two in late December and eight in early January.
Table: Overall most common days to die 2005-17
The two days either side of January 6 also have high death rates, with January 5 averaging just three fewer fatalities and January 7 trailing only by a further three.
The cold winter weather is a contributing factor, with January typically competing with February as the coldest month of the year. Immune systems running low due to the weather can make people more vulnerable to infections and illnesses that can result in fatalities.
By contrast, the research found that July 30 is the least likely day to die, with just 1,208 deaths on average – 13 percent lower than the overall daily average. This traditionally coincides with far warmer weather – the hottest day of last year was July 27.
Analysing each year’s most common day for deaths over the same period, December 31 has topped the list on four separate occasions since 2008, including every other year since 2012.
Table: Most common day to die each year 2005-17
|Year||Date||Number of deaths|
In each of the last three leap years (2008, 2012 and 2016), December 31 – which would have been the 366th day of the year – has been the most common day to die.
New year’s day was the most common day in 2015 – the day after 2014’s highest day for deaths, which fell on December 31. Following the last decade’s pattern, new year’s eve would appear likely to have been 2018’s most popular day to die.
James Dunn, co-founder of Beyond, said: “It may seem a morbid reality to be confronting so soon after Christmas, but 6 January is our very own ‘Day of the Dead’. Late December and early January are always going to be common times to die, with the cold weather raising the risk of infection in people who are already vulnerable.
“Often those who are sick and dying will target certain milestones to keep them going, so it is unsurprising to see higher numbers for the weeks following Christmas, as the thought of one final festive period helps sustain people until later in the month.”