• Violent deaths don’t just happen in wars

    A recent report from the Geneva Declaration estimates that 526,000 people are killed worldwide ever year by violence. However, only 10%, or about 55,000 of them died in armed conflicts.

    While we focus a lot of attention on wars and skirmishes, far more people die violently worldwide for by other means. Almost 400,000, or nearly four times as many, are murdered for criminal or political reasons. Another 54,000 are killed unintentionally.  The 58 countries with the highest rates of violent deaths account for two-thirds of all such deaths. Moreover, about 25% of all violent deaths happen in 14 countries, seven of which are in the Americas:

    There’s an economic cost to this as well:

    Calculations indicate that the economic cost, in terms of lost productivity, of non-conflict violence globally is $95bn (£59bn; €67bn) a year and could reach as much as $163bn.

    I’m for ending wars as much as the next guy, but what I really want to do is to prevent bad outcomes – like death. I was surprised to see that such a small percent of violent deaths were due to armed conflicts. We should, perhaps, focus as much, if not more, on preventing violent crime in many countries.

    Comments closed
    • The GBAV Figure 2.3 ranks 58 countries with violent deaths more than 10 per 100,000. The CDC NVDRS reports violent deaths for the USA (using 16 states to represent the entire nation), and reports a crude violent death rate of 19.96 per 100,000 (age-adjusted rate is 19.64) for calendar year 2008. It seems that the USA should be in the GBAV chart somewhere around the Bahamas or Equatorial Guinea. The USA does not appear at all. If it has more than 10 violent deaths per 100,000, it should have appeared in the GBAV figure. Can anyone clarify why it did not?

    • Oops; the USA firearm rate in the CDC NVDRS is just under 10 per 100,000; I was looking at all violent deaths. But the GBAV also seems to be looking at all violent deaths, not only firearm deaths. It still seems that the USA should be ranked in the figure.