On average, 373 teenagers in the age category 10–20 annually died in the Netherlands in the past decade. Nearly half of them died from non-natural causes. Traffic accidents are the most common non-natural cause of death. Since the 1970s, teenage mortality has declined by 75 percent, mainly due to a reduction in the number of fatal traffic accidents.
Mortality rate markedly high among older teenage boys
In the period 2002-2011, 3.7 thousand 10 to 20-year-olds died in the Netherlands, i.e. an annual average of 18.8 in every 100 thousand teenagers. Nearly half of deaths concerned boys aged between 15 and 20, an average of 170 per year. With an average annual death toll of 50, girls aged between 10 and 15 had the lowest mortality rate in this period.
Mortality among teenagers, 2002-2011
Nearly half die from non-natural causes
Nearly half of all teenage deaths during the period 2002-2011 died from non-natural causes. The rate for 15 to 20-year-old boys was nearly 60 percent. Fatal traffic accidents are the most common non-natural cause of death for boys and girls in this age category. Younger teenagers are often involved in bicycle accidents, while older teenagers are often involved in moped or car accidents. Among 15 to 20-year-olds, 38 annually committed suicide. With an annual average of 7, the suicide figure was much lower for younger teenagers.
Teenage mortality by cause of death, 2002-2011
Cancer cause of death for one fifth of youngest teenagers
Cancer is the most common natural cause of death in 10 to 20-year-old children. Cancer was the cause of death for more than 20 percent of 10 to 15-year-olds and nearly 14 percent of 15 to 20-year-olds who died in the period 2002-2011. Cancer of the lymphatic system and the blood cell-producing tissue (e.g. leukaemia) is the most common type of cancer in the youngest as well as in the oldest group of teenagers.
Traffic accidents no longer main cause of death among teenagers
Teenage mortality has been reduced by approximately 75 percent since the 1970s, notably due to a dramatic reduction in the number of fatal traffic accidents. As a result, more teenagers died from cancer than from traffic accidents in 2011. In the early 1970s, the annual death toll from traffic accidents was 25 in every 100 thousand (a total of nearly 600 teenagers). Over the last 5 years, the ratio was reduced to 3 in every 100 thousand, i.e. an average of 75. In 2011, 3.3 in every 100 thousand teenagers died from cancer, as against 2.8 from fatal road accidents.
Teenage mortality, 1969-2011
Kim de Bruin