Violence, preventable diseases and traffic accidents are to blame for a widening of the youth mortality gap between the developed and developing world, according to a new Guardian analysis of the most recent World Health Organisation (WHO) data.
Road accidents are the most common cause of death of young people throughout the world. The WHO estimates that 350,000 young people died in 2015 as a result of traffic-related injuries. While the problem affects both developed and developing countries, the data reveals markedly different trends.
For example, while traffic-related deaths in Ecuador increased by 110% from 2000 to 2015, Spain managed to reduce its traffic-related deaths by 85% in the same period.
In Luxembourg, one of the safest countries in the world, 46% of youth mortality is caused by road accidents, but the related mortality rate is just under 10 per 100,000 – almost half the average global rate. In Venezuela, traffic injuries cause 29% of young deaths, but they kill 70 out of 100,000 young people every year – the highest rate in the world. Besides Venezuela, every other country in the top 20 for traffic-related deaths is in Africa.