Bulgaria had the highest death rate in the European Union in 2015, with 1660 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants, EU statistics agency Eurostat said.
It was followed by Romania (1530), Hungary (1500), Lithuania (1490), Latvia (1489), Croatia (1430) and Slovakia (1390).
At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest death rate across the EU member states was recorded in France (859 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants), ahead of Spain (873), Italy (901), Sweden (927) and Luxembourg (930).
The death rate was average 1036 deaths per 100 000 inhabitants in the EU in 2015.
In 2015, 5 217 376 people died in the EU, about 272 000 more than in the previous year. About two million of these deaths (or 38 per cent) occurred between the ages of 70 and 85, while nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of all deaths concerned people aged less than 70.
Slightly more than 1.9 million people died from diseases of the circulatory system (mainly heart attacks and strokes), while 1.3 million died from cancer. These were the two main causes of deaths in the EU, responsible for 37 per cent and 26 per cent of all deaths, respectively.
Diseases of the circulatory system were the main cause of deaths in all EU member states, except in Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom where cancer was the main killer.
The third main cause of death in the EU was diseases of the respiratory system, which killed 442 100 people in 2015 (eight per cent of all deaths in the EU).
A significant share of deaths in the EU were also due to accidents and other external causes of deaths (230 000 deaths), diseases of the digestive system (almost 219 000 deaths), mental and behavioural diseases such as dementia (214 500 deaths) and diseases of the nervous system including Alzheimer’s (213 000 deaths, four per cent), Eurostat said.
(Photo of Sofia Central Cemetery: Bertramz)