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Central European countries have among highest mortality rate in the EU

Budapest, Hungary – The ten EU countries with the highest mortality rate (proportion of deaths compared to the total population) are all located in Central and Eastern Europe.

Over 5 million deaths per year in the EU

According to Eurostat, 5.1 million people died in the EU in 2016 (latest year with full available data), around 80,000 less than the previous year.

The main cause of mortality was diseases of the circulatory system (heart attacks, strokes, etc.), which represented over one third of all deaths (36%, or 1.8 million people) – and the primary cause of death in all EU countries except for Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the U.K.

Cancers were the second most common cause of mortality in Europe (26% of the total, or 1.3 million people).

Diseases of the respiratory system (8%), accidents and other external causes of deaths (5%), diseases of the digestive system (4%), mental and behavioural diseases (4%) and diseases of the nervous system were other common causes of death in EU countries.


Hungary has fifth highest death rate in the EU

The highest mortality rates were all found in Central and Eastern Europe, with Bulgaria (more than 1,600 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants) coming first, followed by Latvia, Romania (1,476 deaths / 100,000 each) and Lithuania (1,455 / 100,000).

Hungary (1,425 / 100,000) rounds up the top 5, with a significant difference between male (1,847 / 100,000) and female mortality rates (1,146).

Other Visegrad Group countries also report among the highest mortality rates in the EU: Slovakia comes at the 7th position (1,323 per 100,000 inhabitants), closely followed by Poland at the 8th place (1,218 / 100,000) and the Czech Republic (1,205 / 100,000).

Lowest mortality rate in southern European countries

Most of Central and Eastern Europe is well above the EU average of 1,002 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. In every single European country, the death rate of men was significantly higher than for women.

At the opposite end of the scale, the countries which reported the lowest share of deaths compared to the size of their population were Spain (829 per 100,000), France (838 / 100,000), Italy (843 / 100,000), Malta (882 / 100,000) and Luxembourg (905 / 100,000).

Coordinated by Ábel Bede, Kafkadesk's Budapest office is made up of a growing team of freelance journalists, editors and fact-checkers passionate about Hungarian affairs and dedicated to bringing you all the latest news, events and insights from Hungary.