Most Likely Cause of Death in 2006: A Global Perspective


Death is inevitable, but the causes of death vary across the world and over time. Understanding the leading causes of death can help us identify the major health challenges and priorities for different regions and populations. In this article, we will explore the most likely cause of death in 2006, based on the data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other sources. We will also compare the differences and similarities between developed and developing economies, as well as the trends and changes from previous years.

Global Overview

The top 10 causes of death in 2006 are shown in the table below:

RankCause of deathNumber of deaths (millions)Percentage of total deaths
1Cardiovascular disease17.130.2
3Respiratory infections4.27.4
5Diarrheal diseases1.83.2
8Road traffic accidents1.32.3
10Neonatal conditions1.22.1

Developed vs. Developing Economies

The leading causes of death in 2006 varied significantly between developed and developing economies. These are mostly non-communicable diseases that are associated with aging, lifestyle, and environmental factors. These are mostly communicable diseases that are linked to poverty, malnutrition, and lack of access to health care and sanitation.

The table below shows the comparison of the top 10 causes of death between developed and developing economies in 2006:

RankDeveloped economiesDeveloping economies
1Cardiovascular disease (36.6%)Respiratory infections (10.8%)
2Cancer (26.9%)HIV/AIDS (9.1%)
3Chronic respiratory diseases (6.4%)Diarrheal diseases (7.5%)
4Alzheimer’s disease (3.6%)Tuberculosis (5.1%)
5Unintentional injuries (3.5%)Malaria (4.1%)
6Diabetes (2.9%)Cardiovascular disease (3.9%)
7Influenza and pneumonia (2.5%)Road traffic accidents (3.8%)
8Nephritis and nephrosis (2.0%)Neonatal conditions (3.7%)
9Suicide (1.8%)Cancer (3.6%)
10Cirrhosis of the liver (1.4%)Maternal conditions (2.2%)

Trends and Changes

The leading causes of death in 2006 showed some changes and trends from previous years.

The table below shows the percentage change of the mortality rate for the top 10 causes of death from 2000 to 2006:

RankCause of deathPercentage change
1Cardiovascular disease+1.8
3Respiratory infections-9.7
5Diarrheal diseases-23.9
8Road traffic accidents+3.6
10Neonatal conditions-14.3


In conclusion, the most likely cause of death in 2006 was cardiovascular disease, followed by cancer and respiratory infections. However, the causes of death varied widely between developed and developing economies, as well as over time. The main challenge for global health is to prevent and treat both communicable and non-communicable diseases, and to reduce the disparities and inequalities that affect the health outcomes of different populations.