Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Death distribution of Pakistan and United States

Pakistani journalist Tahera, who writes at the Diverse Similarities blog, asked me to compare the death distribution for the United States (where children who survive their first year are extremely unlikely to die before adulthood) with a developing country.

I managed to find age-specified death rates from the Population Association of Pakistan. Unfortunately I don't have time right now to build exact comparisons for the US age groups and compare like with like, but these two graphs do give us a good idea of the big difference. Here are the American age-specified death rates, (deaths in each age group for every 10,000 living):
And here is the Pakistani equivalent, though broken down by sex, starting with an Under 1 age group, with no higher age group than 65+ (compared with 100+ in the US), and listed in deaths per 1,000:

I'm sorry that these are not directly comparable because the age groups differ. Death rates for the Under 1 group in Pakistan seem very high but the American equivalent is for Under 5s, which includes the lower-risk 1-4 year age group. 

But it is still very different. For Americans from 10-14, fewer than 2 per 10,000 would die in 2007. For Pakistanis of the same age the number was 27 per 10,000 for girls and 26 for boys. Younger age groups are even more at risk in Pakistan. Interestingly the age groups with the lowest death rates are the late teens to early 30s in Pakistan, for whom American rates are already climbing. 

If I get the chance I'll spend a little more time breaking down the American data to make it directly comparable, and explore the sex differences also. For the moment this quick glimpse tells us what we might expect: the extremely low risk of death for American children and teenagers is not universal; in Pakistan the risk is much greater, and the distribution of deaths across age groups is rather different.


  1. Sorry I can't get you a better quality comparison Tahera, I'm very busy these days with my dissertation so I can't afford to spend as much time on my blog, unfortunately!


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