Statistics office: number of deaths in 2020 increased by five percent

Status: 04.11.2021 1:12 p.m.

According to the statistics office, 4.9 percent more people died last year than in 2019. Four out of a hundred deaths were therefore directly due to the corona virus. The most common cause of death, however, remained heart and circulatory diseases.

The number of deaths in Germany increased by 4.9 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year. This emerges from the final analysis of the cause of death statistics by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). As the authority announced, a total of 985,572 people died last year, of which 492,797 men and 492,775 women.

Pandemic part of the cause

Destatis also attributes the increase to the corona pandemic. Four out of a hundred deaths in the past year were directly due to the corona virus. According to the information, 39,758 people died of Covid-19 as a so-called underlying disease in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. The disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus was the main cause of death in these cases. The preliminary numbers from early July were about 9,000 cases lower.

Cases in which the coronavirus as a concomitant disease was not the cause of death are not included in the current statistics. According to Destatis, these figures are expected to be published in December.

Heart and circulatory diseases are the most common cause

As in previous years, diseases of the cardiovascular system were by far the most common cause of death, according to Destatis. With 338,001 deceased, they were the cause for a third (34 percent) of all deaths. These diseases led to death, especially in the elderly: 93 percent of those affected were 65 years of age or older.

The second most common cause of death was reportedly cancer, which was responsible for almost a quarter (23.5 percent). 41,794 of all deaths (4.2 percent) were due to an unnatural cause of death such as injury or poisoning. A fall was the cause of death in 17,211 cases.

The number of suicides in 2020 was 9,206 and thus slightly above the value in 2019 with 9041 cases. Three quarters of those affected were men and a quarter women. According to Destatis, the official cause of death statistics are based on the underlying illnesses and accompanying illnesses of the deceased as documented in the death certificates.

Life expectancy has fallen in many countries

The corona pandemic also has an impact on life expectancy – according to one calculation, it fell in most industrialized countries in the past year. The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock announced that a team of demographers calculated that life expectancy fell in 31 of the 37 countries examined. In total, around 28 million years of life were lost there than would have been expected. That is five times as many years of life as in the 2015 flu epidemic.

The study was published in the medical-scientific journal “BMJ”. According to the data, life expectancy fell the most for men in Russia, at 2.33 years. For women in Russia it went back 2.14 years. In second place was the United States, where the average life expectancy fell 2.27 years for men and 1.61 years for women.

In Bulgaria it decreased by 1.96 years for men and 1.37 years for women. In contrast, life expectancy increased in New Zealand, Taiwan and Norway, while it did not change in Denmark, Iceland and South Korea in the past year. This could probably be attributed to the successful fight against pandemics in these countries, said Dmitri Jdanov, head of the demographic data work area at the Max Planck Institute in Rostock.

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