World health report

Conquering suffering, enriching humanity


The global situation - 1996 update

The world population increased by more than 80 million during the year, reaching a total of 5800 million in mid-1996. The child and adolescent population grew by about 0.7%, the adult population by 1.8%, and that of the elderly by 2.4%.

Between 1990 and 1995, fertility declined more rapidly than expected, to 3.0 children per woman instead of 3.1 as predicted.

The number of people aged 65 years and above increased to 380 million, reflecting a 14% global increase in that age group between 1990 and 1995. Between 1996 and 2020, it is projected that the over-65 population will have increased by 82% globally, about 110% in the least developed and developing countries, and about 40% in developed countries.

In 1996, life expectancy at birth reached 65 years. It has increased globally by about 4.6 years between 1980 and 1995 (4.4 years for males and 4.9 years for females).

Of more than 52 million deaths in 1996 worldwide, over 17 million were ascribable to infectious and parasitic diseases; more than 15 million to circulatory diseases; over six million to cancers; and about three million to non-specific respiratory diseases. About 40 million deaths occurred in the developing world.

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