Slightly over 1.9 million people died from diseases of the circulatory system (mainly heart attacks and strokes), while 1.3 million died from cancer. These were the two main causes of deaths in the EU, responsible for 37% and 26% of all deaths respectively. Diseases of the circulatory system were the main cause of deaths in all EU Member States, except in Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom where cancer was the main killer, Eurostat informs.
The third main cause of death in the EU was diseases of the respiratory system, which killed 442,100 persons in 2015 (8% of all deaths in the EU).
A significant share of deaths in the EU were also due to accidents and other external causes of deaths (230,000 deaths), diseases of the digestive system (almost 219,000 deaths), mental and behavioural diseases such as dementia (214,500 deaths) and diseases of the nervous system including Alzheimer’s (213,000 deaths, 4%).
To make a sound comparison between countries, the absolute numbers of deaths across Member States need to be adjusted to the size and structure of the population.
With 1,660 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, Bulgaria had the highest death rate in the EU in 2015. It was followed by Romania (1,530), Hungary (1,500), Lithuania (1,490), Latvia (1,489), Croatia (1,430) and Slovakia (1,390).
At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest death rate across the EU Member States was recorded in France (859 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants), ahead of Spain (873), Italy (901), Sweden (927) and Luxembourg (930).
The death rate stood on average at 1,036 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in the EU in 2015.