• Some wake up calls from mortality data

    Just a few more charts from the mortality data I’ve been hitting today.

    This is deaths from violence:

    Violence The US is a real outlier. We’re not so much when it comes to suicide:


    And to really keep you up at night, here’s deaths from war:



    It’s far too easy to forget that we’re still at war, and that there’s a human cost. The US is paying it, in more ways than one.


    • We are a real outlier in war, but you also have to consider the scale on that chart–it’s about fifty times more stretched out than the chart immediately above it. There are serious human costs to our wars, and we have a lot more of them than other developed countries (especially because this only looks at death rates in an era where many soldiers are coming back with serious physical & mental injuries), but deaths from war are nowhere near the scale of deaths from suicide or other violence.

    • Nice Figures.

      Interestingly, if you combine the data from all three figures the overall death rate would be higher for Japan than US. This is despite fact that the US violence and war mortality is over 5 times greater in the US than Japan.

      It’s always important to consider both the absolute and relative rates..

    • Thanks for sharing these figures. Doing an exploration of a broader collection of conditions, the US does well for certain cancer treatments (stomach and colon specifically) and cerebrovascular disease (stroke). While we as a nation certainly spend too much and extract too little benefit for many conditions, in some areas the money is well spent. See for instance this article on cancer care: http://wp.me/pisX8-Fl “On average, people with cancer in the U.S. survive 1-2 years longer after their cancer diagnosis than their counterparts in Europe.”

    • In regards to that cancer care article, note that in the health affairs article they cite in it mentions that some of the findings are driven by earlier diagnosis.

      The US performs a lot more PSA screening than other countries. The US thus catches a lot more slowly developing cancers that will not impact mortality, but artificially inflates the US cancer survival rate.

      So while the money may potentially be well spent in cancer care, it may not be as well spent as suggested in that article.

    • indeed, in that health affair article the two cancers with highest survival gain are ones that are most likely to be overscreened for.

      “survival gain was highest for prostate cancer patients ($627 billion) and breast cancer patients ($173 billion).”

    • I think some of the low death rates in cancer might be due to low incidence rates, such as stomach cancer, which is more prevalent in Japan.

      Other than the ones you shared here, we are also “outstanding” in the category of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases. Do you have any take on that? Any relationship to antibiotic resistance?

    • Sure, but remember how small a percent of our population is actually at risk for death in this way. Also, I’m much more interested in how we rank comparatively to other countries in this case.

    • On #1 North Dakota has about the same rate as many European states for some reason black Americans seem to push the homicide rate way up. We would need to solve the puzzle as to why and how to get down where the other countries are.

      The suicide chart just made me doubt that Gun control will not work.
      Comparing Japan to Finland and Finland to the USA the differences are on the same order of magnitude.

    • Too much drinking in Finland?

    • But what if the diagnosis occurs 3 years earlier?

    • @Ken – Was this in reference to my comments?

      If so, what matters in terms in screening is mortality rates. Aaron has discussed this a few times on this site.

      Here’s an nice summary of the issue here (lead time bias):

    • Here are the 2008 Canadian war deaths in Afghanistan. If my math is correct, the rate is something more than 0.1 per 100,000 which doesn’t agree with the graph. They wouldn’t age-adjust to that extent would they? http://therecord.blogs.com/canadian_casualties_in_af/2010/05/2008.html