THE NORTH-EAST has the highest mortality rates in the country, according to new statistics.

Research from the Office of National Statistics also reveals Middlesbrough has twice the death rates of many other places in the country, the highest mortality rates for women and the tenth highest for men.

The analysis of death rates – based on figures from 2012 – shows that the region as a whole has 592.9 deaths per 100,000 population, compared to a national average of 538.6.

In Middlesbrough, that figure is more than doubled, standing at 1144.7 for women and 1399 for men.

The North-East’s high mortality rates could be a reflection of its status as one of the most deprived regions in the country, coupled with a higher than average amount of deaths related to alcohol and smoking.

The study links the figures to differences in wealth, employment levels and health factors, saying: “The substantial variation in mortality rates between different local areas reflects underlying differences in factors such as income deprivation, socio-economic status and health behaviour, for example smoking and alcohol consumption.”

The death rate in England and Wales rose by 3.1 per cent in 2012 with 499,331 deaths registered.

The most common cause of death was cancer, which accounted for 29 per cent of all deaths and was followed by circulatory diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

The town with the highest overall mortality rate was Blackpool, with 721 deaths per 100,000, while Christchurch had the lowest, with 379.6 deaths.

The region with the lowest mortality rate was the South-East, which had 482.8 deaths per 100,000 population.