List of causes of death by rate

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The following is a list of the causes of human deaths worldwide for the year 2002, arranged by their associated mortality rates. There were 57,029,000 deaths tabulated for that year. Some causes listed include deaths also included in more specific subordinate causes (as indicated by the "Group" column), and some causes are omitted, so the percentages do not sum to 100. According to the World Health Organization, about 58 million people died in 2005.[1]

It is estimated that of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the globe, about two thirds—100,000 per day—die of age-related causes.[2] In industrialized nations the proportion is much higher, reaching 90%.[2] Thus, albeit indirectly, biological aging (senescence) is by far the leading cause of death.


Causes ranked by frequency

Note: tinted backgrounds indicate items that also appear in subsequent table.

Deaths per 100,000 per year[3]
Group[4]Cause Percent 
All Causes100.00916.1954.7877.1
ACardiovascular diseases29.34268.8259.3278.4
BInfectious and parasitic diseases23.04211.3221.7200.4
A.1Ischemic heart disease12.64115.8121.4110.1
CMalignant neoplasms (cancers)12.49114.4126.9101.7
A.2Cerebrovascular disease (Stroke)9.6688.581.495.6
B.1Respiratory infections6.9563.763.563.8
B.1.1Lower respiratory tract infections6.8162.462.262.6
DRespiratory diseases6.4959.561.157.9
EUnintentional injuries6.2357.073.740.2
D.1Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease4.8244.145.143.1
Perinatal conditions4.3239.643.735.4
FDigestive diseases3.4531.634.928.2
B.3Diarrhea diseases3.1528.930.027.8
GIntentional injuries (Suicide, Violence, War, etc.)2.8426.037.014.9
C.1Lung cancers2.1820.028.411.4
E.1Road traffic accidents2.0919.127.810.4
B.6Childhood diseases1.9718.118.018.2
HNeuropsychiatric disorders1.9517.918.417.3
Diabetes mellitus1.7315.914.117.7
A.3Hypertensive heart disease1.6014.613.415.9
C.2Stomach cancer1.4913.716.710.5
IDiseases of the genitourinary system1.4913.614.113.1
F.1Cirrhosis of the liver1.3812.616.19.1
C.3Colorectal cancer1.0910.010.39.7
C.4Liver cancer1.089.913.66.2
Maternal conditions0.898.20.016.5
Congenital abnormalities0.867.98.17.7
JNutritional deficiencies0.857.86.98.7
C.5Breast cancer0.847.70.115.3
C.6Esophageal cancer0.787.29.15.2
A.4Inflammatory heart disease0.716.56.76.2
H.1Alzheimer's disease and other dementias0.706.44.78.1
C.7Lymphomas, multiple myeloma0.595.45.45.4
A.5Rheumatic heart disease0.575.34.46.1
C.8Oral and oropharynx cancers0.565.17.13.1
C.9Prostate cancer0.474.38.60.0
F.2Peptic ulcer disease0.464.25.03.5
J.1Protein-energy malnutrition0.464.24.24.2
Endocrine/nutritional disorders0.433.93.44.4
C.11Cervical cancer0.423.80.07.7
C.12Pancreatic cancer0.413.73.93.5
B.7Sexually transmitted diseases excluding HIV/AIDS0.322.92.92.9
C.13Bladder cancer0.312.94.01.7
Neoplasms other than malignant0.
J.2Iron deficiency anemia0.
C.14Ovarian cancer0.
B.9Tropical diseases excluding malaria0.
Musculoskeletal diseases0.
B.10Hepatitis B0.
H.3Parkinson's disease0.
H.4Alcohol use disorders0.
H.5Drug use disorders0.
B.1.2Upper respiratory infections0.
C.15Uterine cancer0.
Skin diseases0.
C.16Melanoma and other skin cancers0.
B.11Hepatitis C0.
I.2Benign prostatic hyperplasia0.

Malnutrition as an underlying cause

Hunger and poor nutrition, directly or as an underlying cause for the fatal diseases listed above, causes 36 million deaths per year accounting for more than 1 death each second on average.[5][6][7][verification needed] Statistically, a child under five dies every 5 seconds on average as a direct or indirect result of poor nutrition.[8] This is 6 million children per year, more than half of all child deaths.[9][10][11][12][verification needed]

Developed vs. developing economies

Top causes of death, according to the World Health Organization report for the calendar year 2001:[13]

Causes of death in undeveloped countriesNumber of deathsCauses of death in developed countriesNumber of deaths
HIV-AIDS2,678,000Ischaemic heart disease3,512,000
Lower respiratory infections2,643,000Cerebrovascular disease3,346,000
Ischaemic heart disease2,484,000Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease1,829,000
Diarrhea1,793,000Lower respiratory infections1,180,000
Cerebrovascular disease1,381,000Lung cancer938,000
Childhood diseases1,217,000Car accident669,000
Malaria1,103,000Stomach cancer657,000
Tuberculosis1,021,000Hypertensive heart disease635,000
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease748,000Tuberculosis571,000

United States

By age group

Leading causes of death in the United States by age group.[14]
Leading causes of death in the United States, as percentage of deaths in each age group.[14] Perinatal mortality (<1yrs of age) seldom falls in any of these causes.
Death by age group as rate compared to the age group with highest rate.[14]

By occupation

Number and rate of fatal occupational injuries, by industry sector, 2006 in the United States.[15]
Selected occupations with high fatality rates, 2006, in the United States.[15]

See also


  1. ^ WHO (2005). "Cancer".
  2. ^ a b Aubrey D.N.J, de Grey (2007). "Life Span Extension Research and Public Debate: Societal Considerations" (PDF). Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology 1 (1, Article 5). doi:10.2202/1941-6008.1011. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  3. ^ World Health Organization (2004). "Annex Table 2: Deaths by cause, sex and mortality stratum in WHO regions, estimates for 2002" (pdf). The world health report 2004 - changing history. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  4. ^ Group is a value showing the relationship of groups of causes; for instance, statistics for "A" (cardiovascular diseases) include those for "A.1" (ischemic heart disease), "A.2" (cerebrovascular disease), and so on. If no value is shown for a cause, there are no other causes grouped with that cause.
  5. ^ Jean Ziegler "The Right to Food: Report by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Mr. Jean Ziegler, Submitted in Accordance with Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2000/10". United Nations, February 7, 2001, p. 5. "On average, 62 million people die each year, of whom probably 36 million (58 per cent) directly or indirectly as a result of nutritional deficiencies, infections, epidemics or diseases which attack the body when its resistance and immunity have been weakened by undernourishment and hunger.".
  6. ^ Commission on Human Rights. "The right to food : Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/25". Office Of The High Commissioner For Human Rights, United Nations, April 22, 2002, p. 2. "every year 36 million people die, directly or indirectly, as a result of hunger and nutritional deficiencies, most of them women and children, particularly in developing countries, in a world that already produces enough food to feed the whole global population".
  7. ^ United Nations Information Service. "Independent Expert On Effects Of Structural Adjustment, Special Rapporteur On Right To Food Present Reports: Commission Continues General Debate On Economic, Social And Cultural Rights". United Nations, March 29, 2004, p. 6. "Around 36 million people died from hunger directly or indirectly every year.".
  8. ^ Food and Agriculture Organization Staff. "The State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2002: Food Insecurity : when People Live with Hunger and Fear Starvation". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2002, p. 6. "6 million children under the age of five, die each year as a result of hunger."
  9. ^ Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Economic and Social Dept. "The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2004: Monitoring Progress Towards the World Food Summit and Millennium Development Goals". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2004, p. 8. "Undernourishment and deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals cost more than 5 million children their lives every year".
  10. ^ Jacques Diouf. "The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2004: Monitoring Progress Towards the World Food Summit and Millennium Development Goals". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2004, p. 4. "one child dies every five seconds as a result of hunger and malnutrition".
  11. ^ Food and Agriculture Organization, Economic and Social Dept. "The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2005: Eradicating World Hunger - Key to Achieving the Millennium Development Goals". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2005, p. 18. "Hunger and malnutrition are the underlying cause of more than half of all child deaths, killing nearly 6 million children each year – a figure that is roughly equivalent to the entire preschool population of Japan. Relatively few of these children die of starvation. The vast majority are killed by neonatal disorders and a handful of treatable infectious diseases, including diarrhoea, pneumonia, malaria and measles. Most would not die if their bodies and immune systems had not been weakened by hunger and malnutrition moderately to severely underweight, the risk of death is five to eight times higher.".
  12. ^ Human Rights Council. "Resolution 7/14. The right to food". United Nations, March 27, 2008, p. 3. "6 million children still die every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday".
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b c National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 50, No. 15, September 16, 2002 as compiled at [1]
  15. ^ a b Bureau of Labor Statistics; NATIONAL CENSUS OF FATAL OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES IN 2006