Number of deaths up for 6th straight year in 2012: data

SEJONG, Sept. 25 (Yonhap) -- The number of deaths in South Korea increased for sixth consecutive year in 2012, data showed Wednesday, as more elderly population make up the country's fast-aging demographics.

According to the data by Statistics Korea, a total of 267,221 people here died last year, up 3.8 percent, or 9,825, from a year earlier. This marked the sixth consecutive year that the figure has increased.

The figure also represented the largest since 1983 when related data started to be compiled.

The number of deaths among men came to 147,372, up 2.9 percent from a year earlier, while that among women grew 5 percent over the same period to 119,849, the data showed. The number of deaths per every 100,000 people also rose for three straight years to 530.8.

The increase is attributable to the country's fast-aging population, which means there are more senior members of the society with health issues. The number of deaths among those in their 70s and 80s rose 6 percent and 9.6 percent on-year in 2012, the data showed.

Cancer remained the leading cause of death, with 73,759 people losing their lives to the disease. Heart-related diseases came next by claiming the lives of 26,442 people last year, followed by diseases linked to blood supply to the brain with 25,744.

Suicide was also a major cause of death, with a total of 14,160 people taking their own lives last year.

The death rate for suicides -- the number of deaths per 100,000 people -- declined 11.4 percent on-year to 28.1, the data showed.

It was the first decline for the figure since 2006, but the overall death rate for suicides was the highest compared with that in other member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD average for the death rate for suicides stood at 12.5, the data showed.

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