International Health Data

A really nifty “interactive graph” from the US that compares causes of death with 16 “peer countries”…

Most people are surprised (shocked), as I was, to learn that, according to the WHO, suicides account for about half of all violent deaths globally – i.e. about the same as the combined total of deaths due to homicide and war. This latest data more or less confirms the WHO numbers, though with some variation for individual countries.

Along with cross-country comparisons, of special interest for me was the breakdown of deaths due to “Neuropsychiatric conditions”. We could argue at length about the validity of this data, but it at least gives the mainstream, medical perspective… and also some very peculiar variations between countries (e.g. see deaths due to migraine or insomnia).

As always, some caution is required with data on deaths due to “self-inflicted injuries” – i.e. suicide. For instance, we know that some societies are more likely to record a suicide as an accident due to cultural taboos or to protect insurance claims.

But still interesting data here, I reckon, plus the interactive graph really is nifty.


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