Seoul saw most deaths in 30 years in 2013

SEOUL - The number of deaths in Seoul last year was higher than any other point in the past three decades, Seoul Metropolitan Government said Wednesday.

Suicide and cancer were among the leading causes, it said.

According to data compiled by the city government, 42,063 Seoulites died in 2013, a 11.6 per cent increase from 2003. The office has been collecting the data since 1983.

Suicide was the biggest cause of death among people aged 10 to 39, whereas cancer was the highest cause of death among people aged 40 and above.

Slightly more than half of those who died in their 20s chose to take their own lives. Suicide also accounted for 35.1 per cent of teenage deaths and 39.7 per cent of deaths of people in their 30s.

Cancer accounted for 48.8 per cent of deaths among people in their 60s and 40.8 per cent of deaths among 50-somethings.

Other major causes of death included traffic accidents, liver disorders, heart disease and brain diseases.

The data also showed that Seoulites in their 30s and 40s had higher drinking, smoking, and obesity rates than other age groups, reflecting greater health risks and stress levels.

The obesity and drinking rate of Seoul citizens aged 19 and above has risen over the last five years, from 20.6 per cent to 23.2 per cent and from 57.7 per cent to 60.7 per cent, respectively.

The smoking rate fell to 21.7 per cent from 24.2 per cent in the cited period.

Although the data showed Seoulites' worsening overall health and Korea's notorious suicide rate, life expectancy had increased to 82.9 years old, up from 78.8 in 2000.

Women were expected to live seven more years than men, with female and male life expectancies at 86 years old and 79.7 years old, respectively.