Understanding the Global Death Rate: How Many Die Each Day and More Facts


According to the World Mortality 2017 report published by the United Nations, the number of deaths in 2015 was 56.567 million. This means that an average of 155,224 human deaths occur each day. This also translates to nearly 6,500 deaths per hour, 107 deaths per minute, and about two deaths per second. Based on the same report, approximately 30.97 million deaths occurred in Asia, 10.59 million in Africa, 8.1 million in Europe, 3.7 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, 2.9 million in North America, and 265,000 in Oceania. Updated numbers can be found here.

Leading Causes of Death

In another study published in 2017, the number of deaths was nearly identical to the UN’s report at 56 million deaths. The leading causes of death are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and respiratory diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases ranked first, causing the death of some 17.79 million people worldwide. Far behind at second is cancer with 9.56 million deaths, and respiratory diseases at third with 3.91 million deaths.

Rounding up the top 10 killers in the world are lower respiratory infections, dementia, digestive diseases, neonatal disorders, diarrheal diseases, diabetes, and liver diseases. Interestingly, deaths due to road accidents worldwide are nearly as high as liver diseases, which is at 1.2 and 1.3 million, respectively.

Deaths by Age

Both the UN’s report and the Global Burden of Disease study indicate that fewer people died before the age of 65. In the UN report, 55% of the 56 million deaths were of people aged 65 and above, while those aged 25 to 65 made up only 29% of the deaths. Deaths by people aged five to 25 comprised only 5%. Children aged five and under account for final 11% of the deaths.

The Global Burden of Disease study on the other hand, found that 49% of the 56 million deaths in 2017 were of people over the age of 70. An estimated 27% of the deaths were of people between 50 to 69 years old, 14% were people between 15 to 49 years old, 1% died between ages five and 14, while some 14% of the deaths were children aged  5 years old and below.

How Many Die Each Day in the US

The CDC reports that there were 2,813,503 registered deaths in the US in 2017. This averages out to around 7,700 deaths per day, 321 per hour, and five deaths per minute. Of this 2.8 million deaths, approximately one million were non-Hispanic black males, while 885,000 were non-Hispanic white males. More deaths were also recorded for non-Hispanic black females at 728,000 followed by non-Hispanic white females at 642,000.

Leading Causes of Death in the US

The top two leading killers in the US for 2017, according to the CDC, are cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Unlike the UN report, however, the numbers are much closer. Deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in 2017 were 165,000, while cancer killed some 155,000 Americans in the same year. Unintentional injuries were the third leading cause of death in the US with 49,000. Other top causes of death in the country are lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, pneumonia, kidney disease, and suicide.

Life Expectancy in the US

According to the CDC, life expectancy at birth for the entire US population was 78.6 years in 2017. Males have a life expectancy of 76.1 years, while the life expectancy for females is 81.1.