The farming population in Ireland: mortality trends during the 'Celtic Tiger' years

Breda Smyth, David S Evans, Alan Kelly, Louise Cullen, Diarmuid O'Donovan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Although the Irish farming population is a significant occupational group, analysis of their mortality patterns is limited. This study compared mortality trends with other occupational groups and assessed the impact of socio-economic factors.

METHODS: Population and mortality data (2000-06) were obtained to calculate standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) by cause of death and matched with socio-economic data. The extent to which variation in mortality was explained by variations in the socio-economic data was determined using multiple regression.

RESULTS: Farmers and agricultural workers experienced the highest levels of mortality for all causes of death (2000-06). Farmers are 5.14 times more likely and agricultural workers are 7.35 times more likely to die from any cause of death than the lowest risk group. Circulatory disease is a significant cause of mortality among farmers [SMR = 215.91, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 201.83-229.98]. Other significant causes include cancers (SMR = 156.60, CI = 146.73-166.48) and injuries and poisonings (SMR = 149.69, CI = 135.44-163.93). Agricultural workers have similar mortality trends: circulatory disease (SMR = 226.27; CI = 192.45-260.08), cancers (SMR = 221.44; CI = 193.88-249.00), and injuries and poisonings (SMR = 353.90; CI = 302.48-405.32). From 2000 to 2006, SMRs increased incrementally. Multiple regression identified farm size and income poverty risk as predictors of mortality.

CONCLUSION: Irish farmers and agricultural workers have experienced a reversal of mortality trends compared to the 1980s and 1990 s. Policies should target them as a high-risk group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-5
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Agriculture/statistics & numerical data
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Ireland/epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality/trends
  • Occupational Diseases/mortality
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Occupations/statistics & numerical data
  • Population Surveillance
  • Regression Analysis
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult


Dive into the research topics of 'The farming population in Ireland: mortality trends during the 'Celtic Tiger' years'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this