The death rate, also known as mortality rate, is the measure of the number of deaths in a particular population during a particular period of time. Typically, it is calculated as the number of deaths per one thousand people per year.
Mortality rates vary greatly between countries, and the causes for high mortality rates depend on specific factors in each country.
Diseases such as HIV/AIDs, malaria, Hepatitis B, and Tuberculosis plague South Africa, while lack of medical supplies and food are problematic in Zimbabwe. In general, high mortality rates can be the result of several things, such as communicable diseases, shortage of healthcare, malnutrition, cardiovascular diseases, violence, cancers, and accidents.
Countries with high mortality rates and relatively low fertility rates face the risk of population decline.
Bulgaria has the highest mortality rate in the world of 15.433 deaths per 1,000 people. According to the World Health Organization, the causes of death in Bulgaria are the same as those in other European countries, including noncommunicable diseases (diseases of the circulatory, digestive, or respiratory systems) and cancers.
The ten countries with the highest mortality rates in the world are:
- Bulgaria (15.433)
- Ukraine (15.192)
- Latvia (14.669)
- Lesotho (14.144)
- Lithuania (13.737)
- Serbia (13.194)
- Croatia (13.17)
- Romania (13.099)
- Georgia (12.816)
- Russia (12.785)
Bulgaria has the highest mortality rate in the world of 15.433 deaths per 1,000 people. According to the World Health Organization, the causes of death in Bulgaria are the same as those in other European countries, including noncommunicable diseases (diseases of the circulatory, digestive, or respiratory systems) and cancers. Bulgaria is currently experiencing a population decline, starting at about 9 million in 2000 and expected to hit between 2.8 million and 5 million.
Ukraine has the second-highest mortality rate of 15.192 deaths per 1,000 people. Ukraine is considered to be in a demographic crisis because of its high mortality rate coupled with a low birthrate. Overall, Ukraine’s health care system is poorly financed and the country has high rates of diseases and disorders that can be otherwise managed and very low vaccination rates. One factor contributing to the mortality rate is the high death rate of working-age males from preventable causes such as alcohol poisoning and smoking. Additionally, Ukraine has one of the fastest-growing HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world and is currently suffering one of the worst measles epidemics as of June 2019.
Latvia’s mortality rate is 14.669 per 100,000. Latvia also has an underfunded health care system and although life expectancy has improved greatly in Latvia, the country still lags behind the rest of the European Union, driven by greater exposure to risk factors among men, people with low education, and people with low income. Those with low education levels in Latvia have a life expectancy that is ten years lower than those with high education. Some common risk factors among Latvians are smoking, binge drinking, and obesity.
With a mortality rate of 12.144 deaths per 1,000 people, Lesotho has the fourth-highest mortality rate in the world. According to the CDC, the life expectancy at birth in Lesotho are 56 years for females and 52 years for males. The infant mortality rate is 59 per 1,000 live births. The leading causes of death are HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, stroke, lower respiratory infections, and ischemic heart disease.
Lithuania’s death rate is 13.737 deaths per 1,000. The World Health Organization reports that ischemic heart diseases and stroke are the two leading causes of death in Lithuania, with mortality rates four and two times above the average rates in the European Union respectively. Due to high smoking rates, lung cancer is now the third leading cause of death in Lithuania. Lithuania also has the lowest life expectancy in the EU of 74.8 years.
Serbia’s death rate is 13.194 per 1,000, the sixth-highest in the world. According to a study, Serbia’s mortality rate was at its lowest in the 1960s, where it was between 8 and 9 deaths per 1,000. During the beginning 21st century, the rate was much higher, reaching 14 deaths per 1,000 at its highest. Demographically, Serbia is one of the oldest nations in Europe and its aging population has a large role in its death rate. Additionally, chronic non-communicable diseases and cardiovascular disease are the two leading causes of death. Serbia is also among the world’s ten countries with the highest smoking rate.
Croatia’s mortality rate is 13.17 deaths per 1,000 people. The leading causes of death in Croatia are ischemic heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and lung cancer. About 25% of Croatian citizens smoke tobacco every day, higher than the EU average. Additionally, obesity rates are rising, especially in children, where the rate has grown more than 50% since 2001. While life expectancy has improved since 2000, rising from 74.6 to 78.3, it is still three years below the EU average.
Romania’s death rate is the eighth-highest in the world at 13.099 deaths per 1,000. The leading causes of death in Romania are cardiovascular disease, malignant tumors, digestive diseases, accidents, injuries and poisonings, and respiratory diseases. Additionally, the infant mortality rate in Romania the highest in the EU at about 8 per 1,000. This is likely because of the shortage of doctors. About 43,000 doctors have left Romania since 2007 to look for opportunities elsewhere.
Georgia has a mortality rate of 12.816 deaths per 1,000. According to the World Health Organization, the leading causes of death are the same in most European nations: cancer, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive diseases, and injuries and poisoning. The premature mortality rate (for individuals under 65) has increased since 2000, with diseases of the circulatory system and cancers being the leading causes of death. Georgia has several risk factors for non-communicable diseases, including smoking tobacco, alcohol use, and overweight/obesity. The highest risk factors associated with disease in Georgia are dietary risks, high blood pressure, high body mass index, and tobacco use.
Russia finishes the ten countries with the highest death rates with a death rate of 12.785 per 1,000. Over half of the deaths in Russia are caused by cardiovascular disease. The second-most common cause of death is cancer, followed by suicide, road accidents, homicide, and alcohol poisoning. Alcohol abuse is a major problem in Russia, especially for men. The life expectancy is 66.4 years for men and 77.2 years for women.
Countries with low mortality rates have improved access to health, well-informed citizens, overall better nutrition, higher standards of living, and advancements in medicine.
Qatar has the lowest mortality rate in the world of 1.244 deaths per 1,000 people. This low mortality rate can be attributed to Qatar’s improved health care system, renowned for its technologically advanced facilities and some of the best patient care in the world.
The ten countries with the lowest mortality rates in the world are:
- Qatar (1.244)
- United Arab Emirates (1.519)
- Bahrain (2.416)
- Oman (2.446)
- Mayotte (2.71)
- Kuwait (2.787)
- Maldives (2.821)
- French Guiana (2.956)
- Palestine (3.462)
- Saudi Arabia (3.513)
Below is a table of each country’s death rate per 1,000 people.