According to this article at lidovky.cz, there were more suicides than violent deaths all over the world in 2018. Is that true?

The important part of the original (Czech) article:

817 000 versus 544 000

Jedno číslo představuje roční počet celosvětových úmrtí - všech vražd, válečných obětí a obětí terorismu dohromady, to druhé roční počet celosvětových sebevražd. Jenže počet sebevražd je to vyšší číslo.

English translation (sorry for my poor English, feel free to improve it):

817 000 vs 544 000

One of these numbers represents the number of all violent deaths worldwide in 2018 - all murders, war casualties and victims of terror together. The other one is the number of all suicides. Surprisingly, suicides are the greater number.


1 Answer 1


The numbers are credible

The World Health Organisation homepage on Suicide data states:

Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds.

The crude suicide rate for both sexes for the entire world in 2016 was estimated to be — according to the WHO — 10.6 per 100 000 people, which for 7.4 billion people (world population in 2016) becomes 780,000.

The World Bank lists the "Intentional homicides" for 2015 at 5.3 per 100 000 citizens. This is half of the suicide rate, so the total becomes about 390 000.

Conflict deaths do not go into the Intentional Homicide number, so for that we can look at Our World In Data, more specifically this diagram, which puts the total number of conflict deaths at about 103,000 for 2016.

enter image description here

That huge spike in 1994 is Rwanda

390,000 + 103,000 lands us almost at 500,000.

So unless something has changed very drastically in the last 3 years, the numbers for 2018 in the original claim are credible in that they match the 2015/2016 numbers fairly good.

  • 1
    This suggests that suicides have been more common than violent deaths for quite some time; i.e. the article is true, but from reading just the excerpt by the OP, I got the impression that it was something unusual. It seems to be the norm. Jan 8, 2019 at 7:27
  • 2
    @SebastianRedl the article is suggesting that intuitively most people would have guessed our ability to harm others would surpass our ability to harm ourselves by that.
    – Leon
    Jan 8, 2019 at 8:13
  • I read somewhere that the suicide rate worldwide has significantly fallen worldwide since the early 90s, saving more lives than the entirety of deaths due to armed conflict during that time.
    – Stephen
    Jan 22, 2019 at 5:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .