After seeing that military spending has no visible relation to deaths in most regions I decided to investigate the special relation the USA has with the wars in the East.
Some major wars in the East are indicated on the chart. During those, the military expenditure of the USA seems to climb up. Data for deaths are available only from 1980, and I filtered out only the relevant region.
Is the USA the reason for those deaths? Or are those people just fighting among themselves, and the USA just gets involved? Does it worsens the situation, or improves? I’ll leave those questions open for now.
What: Military expenditure in constant USD + Deaths due to Conflict and Terrorism. When: Expenditure: 1949-2018, Deaths: 1980-2017 Where: Expenditure: USA only, Deaths: Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation for deaths + Stockholm International Peace Research Institute for expenditure.
That seems not to be the case. There are many wars in Africa, but not so much money spent. Also, China and countries in Western Europe spend a lot, however, they’re not actively fighting (some missions to some hot spots do not count).
In the Middle East – the boiling point of wars – the biggest spenders are Saudi Arabia, which fights satellite war in Yemen, and Israel which fights against Palestine (as I understand it). But many more casualties come from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, all of which seem to be a mixture of civil wars and satellite wars.
The special case is the USA which will have its separate chart.
This topic is so geopolitical, that I refrain from diving into deeper conclusions, but it’s tempting to say, that more weapons do not make more deaths. More stupidity does.
What: > Military expenditure in constant USD – some data for USSR and UAE were interpolated using very rough methods – just to fill the gaps and avoid fake jumps. This data have lots of gaps. > Deaths due to Conflict and Terrorism. When: 1980-2018 (Data for deaths until 2017) Where: Probably the whole world Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation for deaths + Stockholm International Peace Research Institute for expenditure
Mostly in Africa. It was quite difficult to find the exact diseases behind particular spikes of deaths, but some of them like Ebola got a lot of attention. Surprising enough, but it seems that in 2017 people suddenly stopped dying from diseases there.
Sadly I could not find what caused so many deaths in China in 1984. Just imagine the results I got when I searched for “china 1994 epidemics” – the overwhelming majority of articles about the current outbreak of coronavirus with some articles claiming that Chinese government is the one from Orwell’s novel.
What: Deaths due to epidemics When: 1980-2017 Where: 194 countries and regions Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
As expected, the most dangerous regions are Africa and the Middle East. However, a single event in Rwanda pushed Sub-Saharan Africa to the first place. Also, half of the deaths from 1980 till 2017 occurred in only five countries (we hear a lot about them in the news).
The rest of the world is more or less peaceful.
What: Deaths due to war and terrorism. When: 1980-2017 Where: 194 countries and regions Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
This is a slightly deeper look into “People die from heart diseases and cancer, so don’t be afraid of terrorism or viruses” idea.
What: Distribution of death by causes. When: 1990-2017. Where: Global data which seems to cover most of the world. Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 Results.
Natural disasters seem to be quite concentrated, more than half of all deaths during 1980-2017 have occurred in the same five countries and four of those five are in Asia. It is not possible to differentiate to smaller regions (like S.E. Asia, East Asia etc.) because a single tsunami or earthquake affects several regions at once.
The earthquake in Haiti seem to be the most deadly disaster for a single country, which makes up more than half of total deaths in Americas.
What: Deaths due to natural disasters When: 1980-2017 Where: 194 countries and regions Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation