56 million world died in 2017.1 What resulted in their death? just how did the causes of death change over time and differ between different countries and also world regions? and what space the risk factors that command to early on death? These are the huge questions we are answering here.

You are watching: Diseases account for about 1/5 of all deaths worldwide


Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of fatality globally. The 2nd biggest reason are cancers.In this ar you can see the causes of death for all nations in the world.
Definitions: cause of death vs hazard factors

It is essential to know what is supposed by the cause of death and the risk factor associated with a premature death:

In the epidemiological structure of the global Burden of disease study each death has one specific cause. In their own words: ‘each fatality is attributed come a solitary underlying cause — the cause that initiated the collection of occasions leading come death’.2

This is different from the deaths that happened because of risk factors. This deaths are an estimate of the palliation of the variety of deaths that would be achieved if the risk determinants to which a populace is exposed would be removed (in the situation of tobacco smoking, because that example) or lessened to an optimal, healthy and balanced level (in the case of body-mass index). 

Below, in our section on Measurement, you discover a more detailed explanation.

What do human being die from?

56 million people died in 2017.3 What go they die from?

The Global load of Disease is a major worldwide study top top the reasons of death and an illness published in the medical journal The Lancet.4 These approximates of the annual variety of deaths by cause are shown here. 

This is displayed for deaths worldwide. Yet you can explore data ~ above the annual variety of deaths by cause for any kind of country or region using the “change country” toggle.

Non-communicable illness (NCDs) not only dominate mortality numbers at a worldwide level, but likewise account because that the bulk of deaths in high-income countries.

Deaths from causes such as contagious disease, malnutrition, nutritional deficiencies, neonatal and maternal deaths are common – and in some cases dominant – throughout low- and also middle-income nations. In Kenya, for example, the leading cause of death remains diarrheal diseases. In south Africa and Botswana, the leading reason of fatality is HIV/AIDS. In high-income countries but the re-publishing of deaths led to by this is very low.

Using the timeline top top the graph you can likewise explore just how deaths by cause have changed over time.

Death rates related to disease, illness and also other health components tend come change relatively slowly over time. Whilst fatality rates may loss or decline from year-to-year as component of a basic trend, dramatic alters in together deaths are generally rare. Herbal disaster and terrorism-related deaths are vital exception to this rule, as they can vary significantly in between countries. This can make the yearly comparison of deaths and death rates in between health-related factors and also volatile events an ext challenging. Expertise the family member risk that these events can require a longer-term outline of high and low-mortality years. Us cover discussion and evaluation on this topic in a article here.

Related chart – Share of deaths by cause. This chart shows the failure of an international deaths through cause, given as the share of annual deaths, rather than the absolute number.

Related research: We research the major differences in mortality across the people using country examples in our short article here.


In the visualization we watch the distribution of worldwide deaths damaged down by three large categories:

This is displayed for an international deaths as the default, yet can be viewed for any type of country or region using the “change country” toggle top top the interaction chart.

At a an international level we see that the bulk of deaths are caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Collectively NCDs account for more than 73% of global deaths. As the civilization is making progress in the fight against many contagious diseases, and also as populaces age, we suppose that NCDs will come to be increasingly leading as the reason of death.

Related chart – the fatality rate from reasons of death.

See more:

This chart shows the death rate from transmittable diseases, non-communicable diseases and injuries over time.