20th century/Death rates

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Deaths from natural causes, including disease and malnutrition, plummeted in wealthier countries throughout the century.

In 1900 around 17 Americans per 1000 died in any given year. At the close of the century the number was around 9 per thousand.

Age-adjusted death rates fell even more dramatically. Children in 1999 were 10 times less likely to die than children in 1900. For adults 24-65, death rates have been halved. The death rate for Americans aged 65 to 74 fell from nearly 7% per year to fewer than 2% per year.

However, war, genocide and democide led to many millions of deaths throughout the century, and late in the century AIDS had already killed millions, particularly in Africa and south-east Asia.