Top causes of death in South Africa

New data compiled by Statistics South Africa points to a consistent decline in the number of deaths in South Africa since 2007.

In 2012, there were 480,476 deaths that occurred in South Africa and were registered at the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). This indicates a decrease of 6.2% from the 512 310 deaths that occurred in 2011.

The highest proportion of deaths in 2012 occurred amongst age group 35–39 years (7.5%) followed by age group 30–34 (7.0%.)

The lowest proportion of deaths were observed in age group 10–14 years at 0.8%.

Sex differentials revealed there were higher proportions of male deaths (52.3%) compared to female deaths (47.7%).

For 2012 deaths, on average males died earlier (49.4 years) than females (53.8 years). Age and sex differentials show that male deaths peaked at earlier ages (at age group 35–39) whilst female deaths peaked at later stages of life (at age group 80–84).

Almost half (46.3%) of all deaths occurred at healthcare facilities.

The provinces where the highest number of deaths occurred were Gauteng (20.5%), KwaZulu-Natal (20.1%), and Eastern Cape (13.6%). These provinces also have the largest population sizes in the country.

Majority of deaths that occurred in 2012 resulted from the main group of certain infectious and parasitic diseases (22.2%), followed by diseases of the circulatory system (16.4%).

This pattern was also observed in 2010–2011, StatsSA said, although the proportion of deaths due to certain infectious and parasitic diseases decreased consistently during this period but increased for deaths due to diseases of the circulatory system during the same period.

Tuberculosis remained the first leading cause of death in South Africa, a position that it has held since 1997. However, the proportion of deaths due to tuberculosis has decreased in the recent past, contributing 9.9% of deaths in 2012, StatsSA said.

The second leading cause of death was influenza and pneumonia (5.5%), which has also maintained its rank as the second leading cause of death.

The first five of the ten leading causes of death remained the same in ranking between 2011 and 2012. The major change observed between 2010 and 2012 in the ranks of the ten leading causes of death were intestinal infectious diseases which were the third leading cause of death in 2010 but moved to ninth position in 2012.

Conversely, cerebrovascular diseases were ranked fifth in 2010 moved to the third position in 2012.

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Top causes of death in South Africa