Friday, August 19, 2005

191 million die due to war in 20th century

Following up on the last post, another interesting WHO article.

Before we get there though, a brief editorial. This is called a fact sheet but it is full of estimates. I hate it when people call estimates "facts". The only reason it is an estimate is that you don't have the facts.

But, I guess when it comes down to it, all facts really are just best guesses because of inevitable data collection and analysis errors. Really what they ought to do is call all facts "estimates". Editorial done, now back to the facts.

The 20th century was one of the most violent periods in human history. An estimated 191 million people lost their lives directly or indirectly as a result of conflict, and well over half of them were civilians.

In 2000, over 300 000 people died as a direct result of violent conflicts. Rates varied from less than 1 per 100 000 population in high-income countries to 6.2 per 100 000 in low and middle income countries. Worldwide, the highest rates of conflict-related deaths are found in Africa (32.0 per 100 000).

Famine related to war, other armed conflicts or genocide is estimated to have killed 40 million people in the 20th century.
191 million is a big frickin number, but kind of hard to put in perspective. Wish they would have given a rate per 100,000 people. If you average it out, that is 1.91 million a year (wish they had a graph of it per year). Now we are down to less than 1/6 of that with lots more humans alive. That seems pretty good. If we keep going at this rate, war might be done forever in this century. But as the previous post shows, we are actually at the point where more lives can be saved by focusing on personal violence than international violence.

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