Difference Between Morbidity and Mortality

The terms Morbidity and Mortality are often used interchangeably, but though they are related, do not have the same meaning. So, what does morbidity and mortality mean?

While morbidity refers to the state of un-healthiness of an individual, mortality means the state of being mortal. 

In addition to this, both terms can be applied to describe an individual or population. Therefore, when we say mortality rate of a country, we mean number of deaths in a country at a time. Similarly, morbidity rate of a state means frequency of diseases each year. 

Let us Examine Morbidity and Mortality Meaning and Importance in Detail -.

Morbidity Rate 

The word morbid means a state of being diseased or sick. Moreover, the term comorbidity means two or more conditions that affect a person at the same time. Thus, the rate of morbidity can be defined as the frequency of individuals infected with a disease or infected at a given time.

Morbidity rate is measured on two points, prevalence and incidence. Prevalence in this context refers to the percentage of population affected by a disease. Incidence refers to the rate at which individuals are developing an infection.

This rate enables doctors, researchers, scientists, and other health personnel to determine the prevalence of significant diseases in an area, as well as track new illnesses.  The diseases can be either acute or chronic. 

Acute and Chronic Diseases

Acute illnesses are those which affect a person suddenly and progresses rapidly. It also lasts for a short period only. Some acute conditions may require emergency medical attention. Examples of acute diseases are – influenza, appendicitis, pneumonia, asthma etc. 

On the other hand, chronic diseases are those that last for an extended period of three months or more. Unlike acute illnesses, chronic diseases cannot be cured with vaccinations. However, they can be controlled, prevented and in some cases cured by medicines, proper treatment and following other restriction daily. Some examples of chronic diseases are – arthritis, cancer, heart diseases and so on.

Hence, based on information from morbidity rate, authorities can adopt necessary measures such as arranging for medicines, vaccines, researching cures to prevent both morbidity and mortality in the short term and eradicate the disease or infection in the long run.

Morbidity rate reflects the quality of health and life of residents of a country.

Mortality Rate

Mortality rate is the rate of death per 1000 individuals in a particular country. There can be various underlying causes of death of human beings. Accordingly, there are different mortality rates. For example, infant mortality rate is used to ascertain the number of children who died before turning one year old. Similarly, there is maternal mortality rates and mortality rate based on age.  

Data scientists use different mortality rates to determine the causes most deaths in an area. It may be due to disease, poor health conditions and various other social reasons. Hence morbidity and mortality statistics need to be studied together to make an informed decision regarding the state of healthcare of a city or the country.

The Table Below Summarizes the Differences Between Morbidity and Mortality – 

Mortality vs Morbidity 

Morbidity 

Mortality 

It is the condition of being ill

It is the state of being mortal 

Illness may be the result of either acute or chronic disease. 

Causes of death can be several. Morbidity may or may not be one of the reasons.

Morbidity rate is the frequency of individuals affected by a disease. 

Mortality rate or death rate is the number of deaths per 1000 people.


If you want to learn more about morbidity and mortality, you can go through the articles and study guides available on our website. You can even get them in PDF format through our dedicated Vedantu application. 

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Morbidity Rate?

Ans. Morbidity rate is the frequency of individuals suffering from a disease at any given time.

2. What is the Meaning of Mortality Rate?

Ans.  Mortality rate refers to the frequency of deaths per 1000 people. There are different types of mortality rate like infant mortality rate, adult mortality rate, pregnancy death rate and so on.

3. What is the Difference Between Morbidity and Mortality Rate?

Ans. The terms Morbidity and mortality are related but do not have the same meaning. Morbidity rate is the rate at which individuals get affected with a disease within a year’s time. On the other hand, mortality rate is used to ascertain the frequency of deaths per 1000 people.