Quote:

In 1964, the "mode age" of death in England and Wales was zero.

I don't often use the "mode" as a measure of the average - it's the number that appears the most often, so in this case what it means is that more people died at the age of zero than at any other age.

The measure of the average that is used most often is the "mean", and in 1964 the mean age of death was 65.

But in this case the mode tells us a lot about infant mortality. It would have been no great surprise that the mode was zero - it had been the same for most years before then since records began.

But it has not been the case in the 50 years since, which is a tribute to the extraordinary advances that have been made in healthcare, midwifery and neonatal intensive care, according to last week's publication from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS also says that in 1900, slightly fewer than one in six babies died in their first year of life. Last year, that number was one in 252. And the mode age of death was not zero, it was 87.