Math Meets Mortality

by L-Johnson

Hopefully these Angolan children will grow up to see their country escape from their high mortality rate. Currently Angola has the highest death rate in the world.

The mortality rate is a measure of the number of deaths in a population. It is expressed in the number of deaths per 1000 people per year. The CIA World Factbook provides reference information for every country, and it reported for 2011 the crude death rate for the entire planet is 8.0 deaths/1000 population per year. The country with the lowest death rate for 2011 is United Arab Emirates with 2.06 deaths/1000. The highest death rate is Angola with 23.4 deaths. For some perspective, the average death rate per 1000 was about 40 during ancient times and the Middle Ages.

Other than the crude death rate, there are some more specific methods of measuring mortality figures: The perinatal mortality rate measures the deaths of newborns including fetuses; The maternal mortality rate is the number of deaths of reproductive aged women, measured per 100,000 people; The infant mortality rate measures the deaths of children under 1 year old; and the child mortality rate measures children under 5 years old.

There is also the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) which compares the number of deaths if the population had been standardized in terms of age and gender. The age-specific mortality rate (ASMR) measures the number of deaths per 1000 people of a given age.

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