IELTS Task 1 Sample Essay – birth and death rates line graph

I wrote about how to write the detail paragraph for the IELTS Task 1 essay in this post here. I explained how to describe and compare data in this paragraph. In this post I’ll give my full sample essay.

Here is the Task question:

The graph below gives information about changes in the birth and death rates in New Zealand between 1901 – 2101.  Write a report for a  university lecturer describing the information shown below. Write at least 150 words.


For the outline/plan of paragraphs for this graph, I wrote:

1. Introduction paragraph (paraphrase the title of the graph/chart)

2. Overview/Summary paragraph – this states the overall trends or features of the graph that are important. It clearly summarizes what the data shows.

3. Detail paragraph of first important feature/trend

4. Detail paragraph of second important feature/trend

Here is my full sample essay:

The graph shows changes in the birth and death rates in New Zealand from 1901 with projections through to 2101.

Overall there was a rise in birth and death rates from 1901 with a large gap between high birth rates and much lower death rates. However, by the 21st century this wide gap starts to close with death rates expected to surpass birth rates in the future.

From 1901 birth rates rose dramatically from just over 20,000 to a peak of around 65,000 in 1961. After a slight decline, it remained significantly high, fluctuating above 50,000 until the end of the century. On the other hand, death rates, which was half of birth rates in 1901, maintained a very gradual and steady growth to about 27,000 by the end of the century.

It is projected that birth rates will hover around the 50,000 mark but will start to decline  by 2101. Conversely, death rates will experience a dramatic rise after 2021, exceeding the birth rate by 2041 and continuing to rise to a steady rate of about 10,000 above birth rates by 2101.

(180 words)

Want to get your essay writing checked? Here’s how: Essay Correction & Feedback 


I'm an English teacher specializing in IELTS preparation - especially writing and reading. If you have any questions, please ask! You can also sign up for weekly tips and lessons for IELTS and English!

Posted in IELTS Writing, Uncategorized, Vocabulary, Writing Task 1 Tagged with: , ,
2 comments on “IELTS Task 1 Sample Essay – birth and death rates line graph
  1. ali says:

    hieee Pearl
    i would like to ask you that is it really necessary to use the past tense while explaining the graphs which show history or something like that or we can just say like this.according to the graph the birth rate is rising gradually(if i want to use present tense then)
    secondly is it important to say AS WE SEE IN THE GRAPH i mean the use of personal pronoun.can we make the explanation general without using personal pronouns??

    • Pearl says:

      Hi Ali,

      Good questions.

      If you are talking about historical data, and the subject of your sentences are the items measured, then you would use past tense. For example, ” Hourly wages for high school graduates rose dramatically from 1990 to 1995.” The subject is “hourly wages” and so the past tense is used since it already happened. If you are describing patterns that relate to the present and possibly the future, then you can use present continuous as you give your example with birth rate.

      Instead of using “As we see in the graph”, you can say “as seen/shown in the graph”. You’re right, it’s better to generalize w/o personal pronouns – esp. if the tasks explains that you’re writing this report for an academic lecturer.

      Hope that helps. Good luck with your studies!

Leave a Reply