You may not go gentle into that good night, but go you shall. We all do, eventually. Death is the inevitable end game of life. But how we go is a different matter entirely, as there are thousands of ways to die. Here’s what the statisticians at the World Health Organization, the CIA and elsewhere tell us about human mortality around the world (all stats are from the past few years, circa 2012).
GLOBAL DEATH STATISTICS
Globally, 55.3 million people die each year, which is:
- 151,600 deaths per day
- 6,316 deaths per hour
- 105 deaths per minute
- about two deaths per second
Put another way, out of every 1,000 people in the world, 8 of them die during the course of a year.
By the way, the 55.3 million deaths are far overshadowed by the 131.4 million births each year, which is why our global population is growing at a pretty fast pace.
DEATH RATE BY COUNTRY
According to our friends at the CIA, South Africa has the world’s highest death rate at 17.49 deaths per thousand and the Ukraine is #2 at 15.72. The UK ranks #59 with 9.34/1000 and the US is #94 with 8.15/1000. Two Middle East countries (both with very young population profiles) have the lowest death rates in the world: the UAE with 1.99 deaths per thousand and Qatar with only 1.53/1000.
TOP TEN CAUSES OF MORTALITY
Can’t have death statistics without a Top Ten list! The leading causes of death, according to the World Health Organization, are:
- Ischaemic heart disease (blocked blood flow) … 7.4 million
- Stroke … 6.7 million
- COPD (breathing problems) … 3.1 million
- Lower respiratory infections … 3.1 million
- Lung and related cancers … 1.6 million
- HIV/AIDS … 1.5 million
- Diarrhea … 1.5 million
- Diabetes … 1.5 million
- Road injuries … 1.3 million
- Hypertensive heart disease (high blood pressure) … 1.1 million
DEATHS FROM INJURIES AND WAR
Although road injuries are low down on the Top Ten list, injuries taken as a whole are a major killer. About 5 million people die each year from injuries, violence and other non-disease causes, including 883,000 suicides, 456,000 murders, and 196,000 “forces of nature” fatalities (i.e., disasters like floods and hurricanes). Wars and other armed conflicts claim about 18,000 lives per year, though that number is being driven higher by the grim conflict in Syria.
DEATHS FROM CIGARETTES
An astounding number of disease deaths are linked to cigarettes. Tobacco kills about 6 million people each year…one every six seconds. More than 5 million deaths are from direct tobacco use, but about 10% of tobacco deaths(about 600,000) occur in non-smokers sickened by secondhand smoke.
MORTALITY IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
Deaths among adolescents follow very different patterns from the Top Ten for the general population. Road accidents are the leading cause of teenager mortality, followed by HIV/AIDS in second place and suicide at #3.
Death takes a heavy toll on the world’s children. About 6.6 million kids die each year before the age of five; 44% of these deaths occur within the first month after birth. The vast majority of childhood deaths happen in the world’s poorest countries.
That’s all for now. Have a nice day!
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