Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Housing standards and excess winter mortality
  1. J Peter Clinch,
  2. John D Healy
  1. Department of Environmental Studies, University College Dublin, Richview, Dublin 14, Ireland
  1. Dr Clinch (Peter.Clinch{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

The winter peak in mortality has been shown to be related to cold stress in a number of countries.1 There are 30 000–60 000 excess winter deaths in the United Kingdom annually. In Ireland, the equivalent figure is 1500–2000 deaths. This winter surplus accounts for a rate of seasonal variation in mortality of 15%, among the highest in Europe.2 Paradoxically, Ireland has a relatively mild winter (mean temperature of 5°C) whereas countries with more severe winter conditions exhibit significantly lower variations in seasonal mortality (for example, Denmark and Norway have mean winter temperatures below freezing but 5% seasonal mortality variation).2 This paper hypothesises a link between poor housing standards (in terms of thermal efficiency and heating systems) and high rates of excess winter mortality in Ireland.


Norway was chosen for comparison with Ireland. A comparative analysis of risk factors for cardiovascular3 and respiratory diseases4 and of housing standards was undertaken. Registered monthly mortality data from 1986–1995 were obtained from the Irish Central Statistics Office and Statistics Norway. Data on mortality …

View Full Text


  • Conflicts of interest: none.