Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Home, Office, Hospital, Hospice Or Public Place – Where Do Most People Die?

Home, Office, Hospital, Hospice Or Public Place - Where Do Most People Die?

The location where most people die in a country can depend on various factors including financial background and local culture and traditions

Death is an inevitable progression of life. Advancements in science and medicine may prolong life in the future or could even achieve immortality. However, nothing like that is available at this point of time. The subject of death holds great significance in every culture. It has been explored in great detail by everyone from poets to philosophers, psychologists, scientists and doctors. 

However, one aspect that not many people talk about is the location of death. It brings up the question, as to where do most people die. Here is some data that can help answer that question.

Most deaths occur in hospitals

An international study on ‘where do people die’ analyzed death cases across 45 nations. More than 16 million deaths were covered in this study. It was revealed that around 54 percent of the deaths occurred in a hospital. The second location where most people died was at home. This was especially true for older people. The older the individual, the greater was the percentage of death in a home setting. 

Impact of healthcare facilities

Data reveals that people are more likely to die in a hospital in places where healthcare facilities are easily available. For example, more than 75% of the population in the United States has death cases in a hospital setting. When healthcare facilities are easily available, people do not hesitate to take their loved ones to the nearest hospital. Conversely, lack of healthcare facilities or if high costs are involved, patients may prefer to stay at home. This is especially true in case of older adults.

Where do people die in developed vs. developing countries?

The number of people dying in a home setting is usually higher in case of developing and least developed countries (LDCs). In comparison, developed countries have fewer people dying in a home environment. Countries with lowest home death percentage include Canada, many European countries, several South American countries, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. These countries have less than 25% people dying in a home environment. Countries like the United States and Russia have 25-30 percent of people dying in a home environment. Countries with the highest number of people dying in a home setting (more than 70%) include China, Afghanistan and several of the African nations.

Impact of local culture and traditions

Death is treated differently in every culture. In many countries, people want to stay at home with their loved ones in their last moments. A good example is China, where the majority of older folks die in a home setting. Hospice care is another preferred option in many countries. With awareness about the journey of life and its end, many people are preferring to stay at home instead of going to a hospital.

Excluding extraordinary factors such as accidents, natural disasters, terror incidents, etc., it is evident that more than half of the deaths occur in a hospital setting. For people dying of old age, it may be their personal choice where they want to die. Household income, local culture and traditions and remoteness of the area also have a role to play in determining the location of death.


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