These Are the Leading Causes of Death in the Philippines in 2020

A lot of people died by suicide and due to COVID-19 last year.

Deaths by suicide in the Philippines increased nearly 26 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year, the Philippine Statistics Authority said in a report released on Tuesday (March 16). From 2,808 cases of deaths due to self-harm recorded in 2019, the number went up to 3,529 last year, enough for it to rise four spots to number 27 in the ranking of leading causes of death in the country. 

Data from the PSA showed that the average number of suicides annually in the Philippines was at 2,630 between 2015 to 2020.

According to Statista, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people in the country, beating cardiovascular, neurological disease, and cancer. There were 3.3 recorded suicides per 100,000 people in 2010, up from 2.6 in 2005. This went down to 3.2 percent in 2016. With the latest data from the PSA, the number is expected to go up in 2020. 

Leading causes of death in the Philippines

Meanwhile, the PSA also released data on other causes of deaths in the country. A total of 27,697 deaths (or about 4.9 percent of total deaths in the country) were due to COVID-19 in 2020. About 19.8 thousand (3.4 percent of total deaths) was classified as “COVID-19 with virus not identified,” ranking it seventh leading cause of death, while 8.2 thousand (1.4 percent of total deaths) were deaths due to “COVID-19 with virus identified,” placing it at number 16.

Photo by Philippine Statistics Authority.

With 2,566 deaths or 20.4 percent of the total COVID-19 deaths in the region, Quezon City logged the most number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Metro Manila. This was followed by the City of Manila and City of Pasig with 1,810 (14.4 percent share) and 1,447 (11.5 percent) COVID-19 deaths, respectively.

The top three leading causes of death in 2020 were the same as in 2019: ischaemic heart diseases (99.7 thousand, 17.3 percent of total deaths), neoplasms or cancer (62.3 thousand, 10.8 percent), and cerebrovascular diseases (59.7 thousand, 10.4 percent).

In a somewhat brighter spot, registered deaths attributed to transport accidents decreased by 37.4 percent year-on-year, from 12.8 thousand (2.1 percent share) in 2019 to 8,000 (1.4 percent share) in 2020. As a result, its rank fell from 11th to 17th.  In addition, deaths due to assault decreased by 32 percent in 2020, from 8.8 thousand in 2019 to 6,000 in 2020), causing it to move down four spots from 16th to 20th.

According to the PSA, its data on leading causes of death in the Philippines in 2020 were obtained from records of registered deaths at the Office of the City/Municipal Registrars throughout the country and submitted to the Office of the Civil Registrar General through the PSA’s provincial offices.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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