Deaths caused by chronic diseases 2016

In 2016, there were some 17.8 million deaths from all types of cardiovascular diseases all over the world. This statistic describes the number of deaths caused by selected chronic diseases worldwide in 2016. Chronic disease has widespread consequences on both individuals, impacting both quality and length of life, as well as on societies and governments worldwide.

Chronic disease

The burden of chronic diseases, which is made up of the resulting disabilities and deaths, is increasing all over the globe. In 2018, lung cancer caused over 1.7 million deaths worldwide, accounting for the highest number of cancer deaths. Furthermore, it is estimated that by 2045, there will be 700 million people living with diabetes all over the globe. Although chronic diseases are not curable, their risk factors are highly preventable, usually through individual lifestyle and behavioral modifications. Public policies have been put into place in many countries worldwide to promote healthier lifestyles, for example by limiting the consumption of tobacco and alcohol.

Impact on societies

Chronic diseases can result in a heavy economic burden due to related health care costs and through the loss of workforce. Countries of all income statuses are affected by chronic diseases, with the leading causes of death in upper-income countries from chronic disease. Moreover, the rising impact of chronic disease in low-income countries leads to a double burden, as they are forced to deal with both infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases. Weak health systems and poor economies often pose limits to these countries’ abilities to cope as well.

Number of deaths caused by selected chronic diseases worldwide as of 2016

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Release date

May 2018



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Including only COPD and asthma.

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Statistics on "Diseases"

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