SEJONG, Sept. 22 (Korea Bizwire) — Cancer remained the leading cause of death in South Korea in 2016, and fatalities from dementia doubled from a decade ago in line with the rapidly aging population, government data showed Friday.
A total of 280,827 South Koreans died in 2016, up 1.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea. It marked the largest death toll since 1983 when the statistics office started to compile such data.
Of all deaths reported last year, a total of 78,194 people died of cancer, which accounts for 27.8 percent of the total, making it the leading cause of fatality in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
The death rate — the number of deaths per 100,000 people — from cancer rose to 153 last year, up from the previous year’s 150.8.
Deaths caused by cardiovascular, or heart-related, diseases were tallied at 29,735, accounting for 10.6 percent, giving a death rate of 58.2.
Neurological, or brain-related, illnesses and pneumonia made up 8.3 percent and 5.9 percent of all deaths, respectively, followed by suicides with 4.7 percent.
A total of 9,164 people died of dementia last year, up 114.1 percent from 10 years earlier, a rise attributable to the aging population. People aged over 80 accounted for 42.5 percent of total deaths in 2016, up from 30.7 percent a decade ago.
By age, suicide was the biggest cause of death for those in their 30s and younger, while those in their 40s and older largely died of cancer and neurological diseases.