Cancer responsible for 31 percent of deaths

In 2017, the number of deaths in the Netherlands stood at 150 thousand. The most common death cause with 47 thousand cases (31 percent) was cancer. Around 25 percent of deaths were due to cardiovascular disease. Together with cancer, this is a major death cause among the elderly in particular. At 53 percent, unnatural death was the leading cause of mortality among young people (aged 15 to 29 years). This is shown by new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Causes of death, 2017
  (x 1,000)
Cardiovascular diseases38.119
Mental disorders and diseases of the nervous system21.057
Diseases of the respiratory system12.952
Non-natural causes of death7.967
Diseases of the digestive system4.473
Other causes of death19.112

The causes of death vary strongly per age group. Of the deceased children below the age of 1, 62 percent died from a condition developed during the perinatal period, e.g. infections and pulmonary problems. Mortality among children (aged 1 to 14 years) is mainly related to cancer or non-natural causes: in both cases, 20 percent. People between the ages of 15 and 29 are much more likely to die an unnatural death (e.g. suicide, accidents) than young children, namely 53 percent.

The death cause most prevalent among 30 to 79-year-olds is cancer. Cardiovascular disease is also seen frequently as a cause of death in this group. This is also the leading cause among people aged 80 years and over, representing 30 percent of deaths.

Cancer mortality higher among men than women

More men than women die from cancer. In 2017, cancer accounted for 35 percent of male and 27 percent of female mortality. Relatively more women than men die from mental and behavioural disorders, particularly dementia. Last year, these accounted for 11 and 6 percent respectively of total mortality. Other causes of death show a less significant disparity between men and women.

Causes of death by sex, 2017
 Men (%)Women (%)
Other causes of death1214
Diseases of the digestive system33
Non-natural causes of death65
Diseases of the respiratory system99
Mental disorders and diseases of the nervous system1117
Cardiovascular diseases2526