Mortality drops dramatically among people with non-western background

08/01/2008 15:00

In 2007, mortality in the Netherlands dropped for the fifth consecutive year. The total number of deaths over 2007 is estimated at 132 thousand, i.e. more than 10 thousand down on five years ago. Proportionally, mortality declined more rapidly among people with a non-western background than among the native Dutch population. As a result, the risk of dying broken down by ethnic background has declined.

Mortality decline over the period 2002-2006 relative to 1996-2001 by age and background

Mortality decline over the period 2002-2006 relative to 1996-2001 by age and background

Gap narrows

In the period 2002-2006, the mortality rate among people with a non-western background was lower than among native Dutch. This applied to all age categories. The differences between the various ethnic groups in the population have consequently been reduced, but mortality in the non-western male population is still higher than in the native Dutch male population. Moroccan men from the age of forty stand out favourably. The risk of dying for middle-aged and older women in nearly all non-western ethnic groups is virtually the same or lower as for native Dutch women.

Infant mortality, 2002-2006

Infant mortality, 2002-2006

Higher mortality risk for young people with non-western background

Young people with a non-western background are at a higher risk of dying than native Dutch. Despite the downward trend, infant mortality among people with a non-western background is on average still between one quarter and one third higher than in the native Dutch population. The mortality risk for Turkish and Moroccan children remains relatively high. In the older age group – adolescents and young adults – the mortality rate is remarkably high among Antillean men. This is partly due to the fact that a higher murder and manslaughter rate is typical of the Antillean population living in the Netherlands.

Cardiovascular mortality, 2002-2006, standardised by age

Cardiovascular mortality, 2002-2006, standardised by age

Cardiovascular mortality rate low among Moroccans

The downward trend in cardiovascular mortality has affected overall mortality considerably. Cardiovascular mortality declined substantially among both the non-western population in the Netherlands and the native Dutch population; the lowest cardiovascular mortality rates are recorded among Moroccan men. The risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases for Moroccan men in their forties and fifties is about half as high as for native Dutch men. For middle-aged Surinamese men, on the other hand, the risk is about twice as high as for their native Dutch counterparts.

Cancer mortality, 2002-2006, standardised by age

Cancer mortality, 2002-2006, standardised by age

Cancer mortality rate lower among people with a non-western background

The cancer mortality rate among people with a non-western background is lower than in the native Dutch population. Lung cancer among Turkish men constitutes an exception. Stomach cancer is also relatively common among people with a non-western background. Liver cancer is a relatively common cause of death among Surinamese men.

Joop Garssen and Anouschka van der Meulen