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Mortality rate

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Main article: Psychiatric illness and increased mortality

The mortality rate or death rate is the annual number of deaths (from a disease or at general) per 1000 people. It is distinct from morbidity rate, which refers to the number of people who have a disease compared to the total number of people in a population.

One distinguishes:

  1. The crude death rate, the total annual number of deaths per 1000 people.
  2. The fetal mortality rate, the number of fetal deaths per all the births in a given year (both the live births and the dead births).
  3. The maternal mortality rate, the relationship between the number of maternal deaths due to childbearing by the number of live births or by the sum of live births and fetal deaths in a given year.
  4. The infant mortality rate, the annual number of deaths of children less than 1 year old per thousand live births.

In regard to the success or failure medical treatment or procedures, one would also distinguish:

  1. The early mortality rate, the total number of deaths in the early stages of an ongoing treatment, or in the period immediatly following an acute treatment.
  2. The late mortality rate, the total number of deaths in the late stages of an ongoing treatment, or a significant length of time after an acute treatment.

Note that the crude death rate as defined above and applied to a whole population can give a misleading impression. For example, the number of deaths per 1000 people can be higher for developed nations than in less-developed countries, despite standards of health being better in developed countries. This is because developed countries have relatively more older people, who are more likely to die in a given year, so that the overall mortality rate can be higher even if the mortality rate at any given age is lower. A more complete picture of mortality is given by a life table which summarises mortality separately at each age. A life table is necessary to give a good estimate of life expectancy.


The ten countries with the highest infant mortality rate are:

  1. Angola 192.50
  2. Afghanistan 165.96
  3. Sierra Leone 145.24
  4. Mozambique 137.08
  5. Liberia 130.51
  6. Niger 122.66
  7. Somalia 118.52
  8. Mali 117.99
  9. Tajikistan 112.10
  10. Guinea-Bissau 108.72

According to the CDC, the 10 leading causes of death in the United States in 2002 were:

  1. 696,447 Heart Disease
  2. 557,197 Malignant Neoplasms (i.e. cancer)
  3. 162,555 Cerebrovascular disease
  4. 124,777 Chronic Low. Respiratory Disease
  5. 105,796 Unintentional Injury
  6. 73,248 Diabetes Mellitus
  7. 65,418 Influenza & Pneumonia
  8. 58,866 Alzheimer's disease
  9. 40,801 Nephritis
  10. 33,569 Septicemia

(out of a total population of 283,974,000 people in the U.S. at least 1 year old)

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