Back in 2019, there was a list published with the top 10 causes of death. These accounted for a massive 55% of the 55.4 million deaths that happened in that year. Obviously, times have changed, and there is a new killer on the loose – the coronavirus. Nevertheless, before then, the top causes of death were cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, and neonatal conditions. Certain countries are more prone to death than others, making their medical mortality rates sky-high compared to other places. There are also lots of factors to consider when determining which countries have the highest rates.
That includes everything from obesity rates to income brackets in the country. It’s also fascinating to look at how each country has been affected differently by COVID-19. Some countries have suffered while other countries seem almost to be carrying on as usual with a minimal death count. Why are some of these countries affected more than others? We can learn from countries that have managed to battle this pandemic without losing too many lives during the last year. When measuring the mortality rate, it is calculated as the number of deaths per one thousand people per year. Please keep in mind that we gathered these facts from several sources like the World Health Organization. Other references include the World Population Review and The Center for Evidence-Based Medicine.
21. How does Qatar have one of the lowest mortality rates, even with a pandemic?
When it comes to the world’s lowest mortality rate in 2021, the award has to go to Qatar. Interestingly, the population is majority male, with 75% male and 25% female. The median age of people living in this country is 33 years old, and they have a pretty good life expectancy of almost 79 years old! Their mortality rate currently sits at 1.244 (and remember this is measured per 1000 people per year. Not bad, Qatar! What are they doing to get this number so low? Well, they heavily invested in its health system in recent years.
Moreover, they have a young population too. This combination helps to keep the fatality rate as one of the lowest in the world. When it comes to the pandemic statistics, 194 people have died. That has all been credited to their impressive health system, and even the World Health Organization’s regional office said that they were well-equipped and well prepared, unlike many other countries in the world. It is clear that their critical care infrastructure is resilient and helped them curb their death rate. Without this, it could have been much worse.
20. The UAE credits their low mortality rates to their small population of over 60s!
Just behind Qatar for the lowest death rate globally is the United Arab Emirates, with 1.519 deaths per 1000 people per year. Do they also have an incredible health system to keep everyone in their country in good health? Well, it’s to do with age in the UAE. The Middle East may have a larger number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, but their fatality rate from the virus is still meager, below 1%! How have they been able to achieve such a low fatality rate compared to the rest of the world?
Thanks to their smaller population of people in the 60 and over category, they’ve been able to remain very healthy. The number of their cases may be high, but it results from so many tests being conducted within the country. That has helped people stay aware of their infections and be able to quarantine if necessary. They have also been quite strict with their quarantine strategy, which may or may not impacted their fatality rate. Whatever they’re doing is working, and we’re hoping that lots of other countries can reach this point as well!
19. Is the island life in the Maldives the reason death rates are low?
Moving a little further down the list to the 7th lowest mortality rate in a country is the Maldives! Maybe that island life does equal a long and healthy lifestyle. Ok, so while we’re packing our bags and booking our plane tickets to this location, let’s find out a little bit more about the reason their death rate is one of the lowest in the world at 2.821 deaths per 1000 people each year. It’s not because of their beautiful island lifestyle. No, it is due to their health care system, organized into a four-tier referral system.
They have also made much progress when it comes to their maternal and child mortality rates. They have basic health care services available on all 187 of their inhabited islands, meaning that everyone has access to good health care. Their health insurance scheme covers the cost of health charges through the national health insurance scheme. They certainly are making sure that everyone is taken care of, and it is making a huge impact. When it comes to maternity services, almost all mothers give birth at a health facility, and qualified people assist in deliveries.
18. Singapore is doing exceptionally well with managing their COVID-19 outbreak!
Further down the list, but still doing relatively well in Singapore! Singapore currently sits at number 17 in the world for the lowest mortality rates. Despite this being a busy and very populated city, they’ve managed to keep their numbers low at 4.6 deaths per 1000 people per year. How can they do this even with their densely populated town during the pandemic? About 95% of their COVID-19 infections were among migrant workers aged in their 20s and 30s. These people also live in close-quarter accommodation. However, the young people have been resilient with this pandemic.
Singapore has managed the spread of the virus by being quite aggressive with its contact tracing and testing. The World Health Organization has also praised them for these efforts. Because of this, early detection has been possible. In September 2020, they had swabbed nearly 900,000 people, just over 15% of their population. They also are taking in all COVID-19 patients over the age of 45 and those with underlying conditions to make sure they are getting the best care possible. All these efforts are working to keep their death rate low. Furthermore, to ensure their population is as healthy as possible with the virus.
17. Did you know that Morocco has one of the lowest death rates in the COVID-19 pandemic?
Morocco is just a little bit further down the list than Singapore and has a mortality rate of 5.072. Morocco is known to be an exotic and exciting location – and they can look after their population! A winning combination for any country. When the outbreak of COVID-19 first started, Morocco decided to implement drastic measures to contain the virus as best as possible. They announced a state of emergency on March 20th, even though the country only had 77 cases at that point. What did this mean for Morocco in terms of restrictions?
They decided to suspend any public events, and they were also controlling the movement of their citizens within the cities. Also, the people decided to stop both inter-city and international travel to curb the spread of the virus. This country supported the World Health Organization, which helped them coordinate development partners to support these efforts. They aided with preparedness plans and also assistance for testing and treatment protocols. These efforts are working and helping keep their population safe during the pandemic. Morocco still has one of the lowest fatality rates globally, of course in proportion to the total infections.
16. If you want to start traveling again, you should consider Costa Rica as they’ve done well in the pandemic!
Next on our list is Costa Rica. Did you know that Costa Rica has a higher life expectancy than the United States despite its per capita income and health expenditure is much less than that of the United States? Their death rate currently sits at 5.122 per thousand people per year in 2021. Costa Rica has a high life expectancy at birth at almost 79 years! Their life expectancy sits at the level of a country with a much better GDP of $40,000, comparable with the United States. The life expectancy of the United States is a year lower than Costa Rica.
Costa Rica opened up for tourism again in November of 2020 and wants to start increasing its tourism. They have been able to handle the pandemic relatively well, seeing that they have once more invited tourists into their country. In fact, they had a total of 213,000 cases and almost 3,000 deaths throughout the pandemic. This country have been able to come out on the other side of it because they were one of the first Central American countries to receive the vaccine. To date, they have given about 300,000 doses so far. They’ve set an excellent example for the rest of the world.
15. Malaysia is making big improvements in their country’s mortality rates and most notably among infants and maternity cases.
This country is experiencing a decrease in its mortality rate and has been so for the past 30 years. They currently have one of the lowest mortality rates found amongst developing countries. People view this rate as very good among developed countries too! Back in 1957 and up to 1989, the death rate dropped from 12.4 per 1000 people to 4.6! They also recorded a decrease in the infant mortality rate, which went down from 75.5 in 1000 births to a much more “normal” rate of 15.2. Along with this, maternity mortality rates also declined, which was excellent news for the country.
When looking deeper at the country and its mortality rates, it can be seen that the rural areas have a higher mortality rate than the urban areas. That has been credited to the use of maternal and child health services in the country. These have been able to help reduce the mortality rates in neonatal, infant, child, and maternal departments. The country now needs to focus on programs for specific ages and socioeconomic groups to help this country get its mortality rate even lower. There is a program in place that seeks to improve the population’s quality of life.
14. How has Turkey managed to keep a low fatality rate even with high numbers of COVID-19 infections?
We’ve all seen the incredible Instagram pictures of the hot air balloons in Cappadocia! Is this why people live healthy lives in Turkey since they get to enjoy those exquisite views daily? Turkey’s death rate is 5.444, which is still considered one of the lowest in the world. Turkey has been hit quite hard with the impact of COVID-19, but despite the virus being quite prevalent amongst the population, they still have a low death rate. They’ve been more successful than most of their comparable European countries with COVID-19.
Officially, they’ve ranked better than Germany, and Germany has received quite a bit of attention and praise for their low fatality rates during the pandemic. However, their low case fatality rate has been met with a different kind of reaction to Germany’s, which has been quite a controversy. Some believe that the country is doing well for crisis management and increasing its ability to test, even though the infection rate is high. Others believe that the numbers are inaccurate; moreover, the deaths are much more than they alleged. Why? Because there is an overload in the hospitals and patients are declining in health.
13. Does Egypt have its COVID-19 troubles under control, or are they headed to the afterlife?
Egypt is slightly above Turkey with a score of 5.808. It’s interesting to look at this country’s death rate with an afterlife as important as theirs. They, of course, are no longer building pyramids to commemorate people after their deaths, but that is a meaningful way to remember someone after they’re gone. Now, onto the facts about how this country keeps its medical mortality rate very low. It was all fine until the pandemic hit, and then Egypt’s healthcare system was overwhelmed by patients. When it came to the summer, the numbers started to decline, luckily.
Now, Egypt has one of the highest death rates throughout the pandemic and is the seventh highest in the world! We’re not sure when this will reflect in their statistics, but things aren’t looking so promising for the next year when calculating their death rate number. Interestingly, in Egypt, PCR tests are only available to patients experiencing pneumonitis and respiratory failure symptoms. It means that their testing is relatively low, contributing to the higher death rate from the virus. Their numbers are continuing to decline, and hopefully, they won’t be hit by another wave.
12. There may be a magical tonic in Madagascar that helps their death rate stay so low!
In Madagascar, the medical mortality rate currently sits at 6.017. That is currently one of the lowest in the world. How has Madagascar fared throughout the pandemic? Really well, actually! They reported a total of 24,426 confirmed COVID-19 cases with quite a low number of deaths. Madagascar has experienced 418 deaths in total so far and has had almost 21,908 recoveries. That is surprising due to President Andry Rajoelina’s idea of how to solve the pandemic. It was all with a herbal concoction called Covid-Organics. They launched it last year in April. Moreover, there was great fanfare about this product.
What is this product about, and what does it contain? The Malagasy Institute of Applied Research is producing it. Covid-Organics is made from the artemisia plant. That is the source of an ingredient that can be found in malaria treatment. This “treatment” has since been marketed in the country to prevent and remedy the virus. It was even offered to children at school to help protect them. No clinical trials have been made public, but the tonic has continued to be shipped to dozens of African countries. The WHO is all in support of innovation but wants to see the science behind it.
11. The luck of the Irish has graced this country with a meager mortality rate.
Ireland seems to have been very lucky when it comes to its low mortality rate of 6.139. They always speak about the luck of the Irish. This country currently has one of the strictest restrictions concerning the pandemic in place. Ireland has been in its highest level lockdown for three months to curb the pandemic’s effect on their population. Is it working? Their daily infections are down, and minimal deaths are happening. They’re just waiting on their vaccine program to pick up momentum before reopening the economy. So, maybe their harsh restrictions are doing the trick.
COVID-19 was one of the lowest causes of deaths in the last third of 2020 in Ireland. There were only 191 Coronavirus deaths between June and September, and there were a total of 7111 deaths during that period. What were the greater causes of deaths in the country? Ranking in top position was cancer which accounted for 2356 of the deaths in Ireland. Next up were diseases of the circulatory system and then dementia. Accidents in Ireland led to 217 deaths, and just below that was Alzheimer’s. The country is set to start making its way out of lockdown over the next few month’s so let’s see if their plan worked!
10. Russia has the tenth highest death rate globally, with cardiovascular disease as the leading cause.
On the total other ends of the scale, we have Russia. Russia has the tenth highest death rate in the world! Their current death rate is 12.785 per 1,000. What is the leading cause of medical mortality in this country? It is caused by cardiovascular disease. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the country. Following that are road accidents, homicide, suicide, and alcohol poisoning. From the country that created vodka, it’s not surprising that this is one contributor to their death rate each year. Alcohol abuse is a huge problem in Russia.
This addiction is more prevalent in men than in women, and it shows when you look at the life expectancy of each gender. In Russia, men’s life expectancy is 66.4 years while the life expectancy for women is over ten years, more at 77.2 years. When it comes to COVID-19, a demographer claims that Russia is smoothing over their daily data to make it look better; however, officials have denied these allegations. The city government count has reached 1869 for the whole pandemic, but people disagree with them. So, is the government downplaying the effect the pandemic has had?
9. Dietary issues and lifestyle choices have become one of the leading causes of death in Georgia.
Georgia sits in the ninth position for the highest mortality rate in the world. Their rate is 12.816 deaths per 1000 people in a year. The World Health Organization has given further details on the leading causes of death in this country. They are very similar to the rest of Europe’s causes of death, namely cancer, respiratory, circulatory, and digestive diseases. Included in the causes are also injuries caused to people as well as poisoning. Their death rate for people under the age of 65 has increased quite a bit since 2000. The leading cause of death being circulatory system disease and cancers.
They also have pretty big risk factors in Georgia which contribute to this high death rate. That includes smoking, alcohol abuse, and also obesity. There is also a significant concern in Georgia about dietary issues that are causing people to die more often. These concerns are high blood pressure, a high body mass index, and of course, smoking. Certain countries worldwide have a great mortality rate because of the lifestyle that is lived in that country, such as in Russia with the alcohol abuse problem. That is something that all countries should look into and re-evaluate to bring these numbers down.
8. Since 2007, Romania has lost over 43,000 doctors, which has left them with one of the highest infant mortality rates in the EU.
Romania sitting just above Georgia, holds the eighth-highest position in the world with a rate of 13.099 deaths per 1,000. What is the leading cause of death in this country? There are a few: cardiovascular disease, digestive diseases, accidents, and malignant tumors. Also, Romania experiences a high rate of fatalities with injuries, poisonings, and respiratory diseases. There’s another shocking death rate statistic in Romania, and it is sadly their infant mortality rate. It is the highest in the whole of the European Union at eight deaths per 1000. Why is this rate so high even with all the developments in health care?
Well, people assume that it is because of the shortage of doctors who are in Romania. This trend hit the country hard since 2007, and thousands of doctors have left the country to work elsewhere. In total, about 43,000 doctors have left since then. That is all a reflection of socioeconomic inequalities that cause a big deficiency in vital health services. They have a healthcare system with a benefits package. Nevertheless, many of the population is still uninsured and only gets access to very minimal assistance. Romania needs more doctors and a better balance between primary and hospital care.
7. You can’t blame Game of Thrones for Croatia’s high death rate. It’s actually due to 25% of their population smoking.
Croatia’s death rate isn’t high because this is where the fictional world of Games of Thrones was filmed, but actually because of ischemic heart disease, strokes, and lung cancer. They have a mortality rate of 13.17 deaths per 1,000 people landing them position number 7. It’s not surprising that lung cancer is one of their highest causes of death since a considerable amount of Croatian citizens smokes tobacco every single day of their lives; that is a total of 25% of their population! It is much higher than the EU average, which is very concerning. There are also other causes of death in the country due to lifestyle.
That includes obesity. The obesity rates in Croatia are on the rise, and this is most notable in children. The rate has grown by more than 50% since 2001. The lifestyle in Croatia does not lend itself to a healthy upbringing, and this is something that needs to change for them to move out of the 7th position for the highest mortality rates in the world. Despite all of this, their life expectancy isn’t too low and has improved since 2000. It was 74.6 and is now 78.3. Even though this may sound relatively high, it is still three years below the EU’s average.
6. Serbia has one of the oldest populations in Europe, which is a significant contributor to their mortality rate.
This country can be freezing, but people aren’t freezing to death here. They just have one of the oldest populations in Europe! Their death rate is currently 13.194 per 1,000, which means they are in the sixth position. An interesting study was done on Serbia and its mortality rate. It concluded that their mortality was the lowest it had ever been back in 1960. During this time, it was eight or nine deaths per 1,000. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, this all changed; the death rate moved up to 14 deaths per 1,000.
Their aging population plays a significant role in their high death rate, but other conditions are at play. It includes chronic non-communicable diseases and also cardiovascular disease. Serbia is another country that has some poor lifestyle choices and is ranked in the world’s ten countries with the highest smoking rate. Surprisingly, lung cancer isn’t one of their leading causes of death, but smoking can cause many other problems – including cardiovascular disease. Hopefully, soon, they’ll lower their death rate once again and start making healthier lifestyle choices for the remaining population as it becomes younger.
5. Lithuania is in the five countries with the highest medical mortality rate due to ischemic heart diseases and strokes.
Now we are in the top five countries with the highest medical mortality rate in the world. Lithuania takes the number five spot with a death rate of 13.737 deaths per 1,000. According to the World Health Organization, the leading causes of death in Lithuania are ischemic heart diseases and strokes. Their ischemic heart disease death rate is four times the average rate in the rest of the European Union, and their stroke rate is two times as high. Unfortunately, they have a high death rate; Lithuania also has the lowest life expectancy in the EU.
The life expectancy in Lithuania currently sits at 74.8 years. One of the other leading causes of death in Lithuania is their high smoking rate in the country – lung cancer is the third leading cause of death. Their life expectancy rate has been through a roller coaster over the past 70 years. In 1990, they experienced an economic fallout, and there was also loss of life caused by riots and chaos in the country. In 1994 they only had a life expectancy of 68.5 years! Since then, it has somewhat stabilized and should continue to get higher, we hope.
4. Lesotho is struggling with its mortality rate and its very low life expectancy of 56 years.
Lesotho has a mortality rate of 12.144 deaths per 1,000 people. It is almost more concerning than this high number is their life expectancy at birth; it sits at only 56 years old for females and an even lower 52 years for men! The infant mortality rate in Lesotho is also very high at 59 per 1,000 live births. Why are these rates so high and also so low? There are many concerning conditions that affect people in Lesotho, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and strokes. There are also high numbers of deaths caused by lower respiratory infections and ischemic heart diseases.
How is the country dealing with COVID-19? Well, they were the last country in Africa to record a case of the virus and have since recorded a very sharp rise in their patients. It was due to workers traveling from South Africa to go home during the Christmas holidays. Their cases are around 4000, and they have a population of 2 million people. Since then, the country has started to increase their testing to ensure that they are doing whatever they can to avoid the virus getting out of control within the kingdom. They have also become stricter with their quarantine procedures.
3. Latvia has a poor health system with low income and education.
Jumping quite a bit up in Latvia with a mortality rate of 14.669 – this is mainly due to their severely underfunded health care system. Despite this, their life expectancy has been improving over the year. However, they are still far behind compared to the rest of the European Union. The greatest mortality is among men, people with low income and low education. It is interesting to see the correlation between low life expectancy and low education. Those with low education have a life expectancy of ten years less than those with a high education level in the country.
What is causing these deaths among those who are poorly educated? They are at risk from lifestyle factors, including smoking, binge drinking, and also obesity. These seem to be a common factor between the countries in the top 10 of mortality rates. Moreover, there needs to be some sort of intervention in these areas. The diseases people are dying of are directly related to their lifestyle choices. Without these risk factors, such as smoking and drinking, they would most likely be living much better and longer lives. With these factors, people are at a much greater risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
2. Ukraine struggles with a failing health care system and working-age men battling with alcohol poisoning.
We’ve entered the top two, and Ukraine has the second-highest mortality rate in the world. Their rate is 15.192 deaths per 1,000 people. Ukraine is experiencing what is known as a “demographic crisis.” It has been labeled this because they have a high mortality rate and a low birth rate. Their health care system also isn’t doing well and is very poorly funded. The country experiences high rates of diseases and conditions, which isn’t good if their health care system isn’t the best. They also have meager vaccination rates, leading to many more illnesses than in countries with high vaccine rates.
So, what are the factors that are contributing to this incredibly high mortality rate? Well, it’s mainly to do with the working-age men in Ukraine. They have high rates of alcohol poisoning and conditions caused by smoking. Just like Lesotho, they also have high rates of HIV/AIDS. They also went through a terrible measles epidemic in June 2019, and they are struggling to recover from that time. Now, being hit by COVID-19, the country is in big trouble, and with a failing health system, it doesn’t seem like they’ll be moving out of the top 10 any time soon.
1. Bulgaria claims the number one spot on this list and has similar death causes to the rest of the countries in Europe.
You might be surprised to learn that Bulgaria is the number one for the world’s highest mortality rates. Their rate sits at 5.433 deaths per 1,000 people. Is there something significant causing this high death rate? Nope, it’s very similar to the cause of death in the rest of the European countries. Their concerns are diseases of the circulatory, digestive and respiratory systems. Another high cause of death in Bulgaria is cancer. Not only do they have a high death rate, but due to this, they are suffering quite an intense population decline.
They had about 9 million people in 2000 and are expected to end up between 2.8 million and 5 million. How has COVID-19 impacted Bulgaria? Well, they’ve had around 360 000 cases of the coronavirus confirmed in the country, and they are doing their very best to test as many people as possible who might have the virus. They are also progressing with their vaccination plan to create herd immunity within the country. So far, experts report that 519,635 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Also, 104,845 people have received their second dose.