Death Toll from Wars in the Past Century….

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    LIST OF WARS

    Wars since 1900

    A list of all wars in the 20th and 21st centuries, based on data by COW, Prio and UCDP. See the source page or the FAQ for more information. How many died because of warfare in the 20th and 21st century? See the new stats page for the answer.

    NEW! Preview of an experimental version of a timeline of all wars since 1900.

    This section is currently being updated with new data! (March 2016)

    Name of War     Years    
    Eastern Ukraine War 2014 – 2015
    Syrian civil war 2011 – 2015
    South Sudan Civil War 2011 – 2015
    Libyan Civil War 2011 – 2015
    Nigerian Govt vs Boko Haram 2009 – 2015
    Yemeni Civil War 2009 – 2015
    Waziristan conflict 2007 – 2015
    Mexican Drug War 2006 – 2015
    Iraqi Insurgency 2004 – 2015
    Afghanistan war 2001 – 2015
    Turkey Gov vs Kurdistan Guerilla (PPK) 1984 – 2015
    Sudan Government vs Militias 1983 – 2015
    Somalia Civil War 1982 – 2015
    Russia vs Chechnyan Secessionists and the Caucasus Emirate 1994 – 2014
    Algeria Govt vs Islamic rebels, GIA, AIS, AQIM 1991 – 2014
    Indian Govt vs Maoist Guerillas 1991 – 2014
    Nagorno-Karabakh War 1990 – 2014
    Northern Mali Conflict 1990 – 2014
    Indian-Pakistani Dispute and Intrastate Insurgency in Kashmir 1984 – 2014
    Ethiopian Govt vs Ogadeni Rebels – WSLF/ONLF/AIAI 1976 – 2014
    Philippines Govt vs Mindanao Guerillas 1970 – 2014
    Philippine Government vs CPP Guerrilla 1969 – 2014
    Colombia Govt vs Guerillas Farc and ELN 1964 – 2014
    Burmese Government vs Separatist Guerillas 1949 – 2014
    Israel vs Palestine 1949 – 2014
    Sectarian Conflict in the Central African Republic 2012 – 2013
    Kivu Conflict 2006 – 2013
    Lou Nuer vs Murle (Jonglei conflict) 2006 – 2013
    al-Qaida vs USA and allies 2001 – 2013
    Uganda Civil War 1980 – 2013
    Mozambique Govt vs RENAMO and FRELIMO 1977 – 2013
    Ethiopia vs Oromia rebels (OLF) 1977 – 2013
    Tajikistan Govt vs Opposition 1992 – 2011
    Senegal Civil War 1990 – 2011
    Iran vs rebel groups (MEK,PJAK etc) 1979 – 2011
    Chad Civil War 1966 – 2010
    Peruvian Gvt vs Sendero Luminoso and MRTA 1965 – 2010
    Sri Lankan Govt vs Tamil Militants (LTTE) 1984 – 2009
    Burundi Civil War 1991 – 2008
    Nepal Civil War 1996 – 2006
    Southern Lebanon War 1990 – 2006
    Indonesia Gvt vs Aceh Liberation movement 1990 – 2005
    Civil War in Côte d Ivoire 2002 – 2004
    Ituri Conflict 1999 – 2004
    Iraq vs US led coalition 2003 – 2003
    First and Second Congo Wars 1996 – 2003
    Liberia Civil War 1989 – 2003
    Congo Brazzaville Civil War 1993 – 2002
    Angolan Gvt vs UNITA Guerilla 1975 – 2002
    Sierra Leone Civil War 1991 – 2001
    Eritrea vs Ethiopia 2000 – 2000
    Afghanistan Civil War 1978 – 2000
    Yugoslavia vs NATO Forces and UCK Guerilla 1998 – 1999
    Indonesian Govt vs Fretilin – East Timor 1975 – 1999
    Cambodian Govt vs Khmer Rouge 1979 – 1998
    Northern Ireland, The Troubles 1971 – 1998
    Hunde and allies vs Hutu, Banyarwanda 1993 – 1996
    Iraq vs Kurdistan (KDP/PUK) 1982 – 1996
    Iraq Government vs SCIRI 1982 – 1996
    Iranian Govt vs KDPI 1966 – 1996
    Bosnian Govt vs Serbian and Croatian Insurgents 1992 – 1995
    Croatia vs Serbian Irregulars, Rep. Krajina 1992 – 1995
    Guatemalan Civil War 1965 – 1995
    North Yemen vs Secessionists 1994 – 1994
    Rwanda Civil War (Hutus vs Tutsis) 1990 – 1994
    Burmese Govt vs Communist Guerillas 1948 – 1994
    Georgian Civil War 1992 – 1993
    Indian Govt vs Sikh insurgents 1983 – 1993
    Serbian Govt. vs Croatian irregulars 1991 – 1991
    First Gulf War 1990 – 1991
    El Salvador Gvt vs FMLN Guerrillas 1979 – 1991
    Ethiopian Government vs EPRDF 1976 – 1991
    Ethiopia vs Eritrean Separatists ELF/EPLF 1964 – 1991
    Nicaragua Govt vs Contras 1981 – 1990
    Lebanese Civil War 1975 – 1990
    Sri Lanka Govt vs JVP 1971 – 1990
    Romanian Revolution 1989 – 1989
    Panama Coup and US Invasion 1989 – 1989
    Western Sahara War 1975 – 1989
    South Africa vs ANC 1981 – 1988
    Iran vs Iraq 1980 – 1988
    Sino-Vietnamese War 1978 – 1988
    Namibia vs South Africa 1966 – 1988
    Chadian-Lybian War (Aouzou Strip) 1987 – 1987
    South Yemen Coup 1986 – 1986
    Falklands War 1982 – 1982
    Syrian Govt vs Muslim Brotherhood 1979 – 1982
    Thai Govt vs CPT 1974 – 1982
    Nicaraguan Gvt vs Sandinistas 1978 – 1979
    Uganda vs Tanzania 1978 – 1979
    Iranian Revolution 1978 – 1979
    Rhodesian Government vs ZANU,ZAPU,PF 1967 – 1979
    Vietnam vs Cambodia (Kampuchea) 1978 – 1978
    Indonesian annexation of West Papua 1962 – 1978
    Argentina: Civil War and Dirty War 1974 – 1977
    Balochistan Insurgency 1974 – 1977
    Chinese Cultural Revolution 1967 – 1976
    Cambodian Civil War 1967 – 1975
    Vietnam War 1965 – 1975
    Angolan War of Independence 1961 – 1975
    Turko Cypriot War 1974 – 1974
    Mozambique War of Independence 1964 – 1974
    Yom Kippur War 1973 – 1973
    Chilean MIlitary Coup 1973 – 1973
    Guinea Bissau War of Independence 1963 – 1973
    Laos Civil War 1959 – 1973
    Hutu Rebellion 1972 – 1972
    Sudan Government vs Insurgents 1963 – 1972
    Bangladesh War 1971 – 1971
    Second Kashmir War 1964 – 1971
    Israel vs Egypt 1969 – 1970
    Nigerian Civil War 1967 – 1970
    North Yemen Civil War 1962 – 1970
    First Kurdish–Iraqi War 1961 – 1970
    Football War Honduras vs El Salvador 1969 – 1969
    The Six Day War 1967 – 1967
    Dominican Republic Coup 1965 – 1965
    Congo Crisis 1960 – 1965
    First Rwanda Civil War 1963 – 1964
    Vietnam Civil War 1955 – 1964
    Sino-Indian War 1962 – 1962
    Algerian War of Independece 1954 – 1962
    Bizerte Crisis 1961 – 1961
    Cameroonian Govt vs UPC 1960 – 1961
    Indonesia vs PRRI, Permesta and Darul Islam 1953 – 1961
    Cuban Revolution 1953 – 1961
    1959 Mosul uprising in Iraq 1959 – 1959
    Cameroon War of Independence 1957 – 1959
    Tibetan Uprising 1956 – 1959
    First Lebanese War 1958 – 1958
    La Violencia 1948 – 1958
    Malayan Civil War 1948 – 1957
    Sinai War 1956 – 1956
    Soviet Invasion of Hungary 1956 – 1956
    Kenya, Mau-Mau vs UK 1954 – 1956
    Tunisian war of Independence 1953 – 1956
    Moroccan War of Independence 1953 – 1956
    Taiwan Strait Crisis 1949 – 1954
    Philippines, Huk rebels vs Govt 1946 – 1954
    First Indochina War Comm. vs France 1946 – 1954
    Korean War 1949 – 1953
    Bolivian Revolution 1952 – 1952
    Indian Govt vs Communist Rebels CPI 1948 – 1951
    Soviet Union vs Baltic Partisans (’’Forest Brethren’’) 1945 – 1951
    Indonesian Govt vs Republic of South Moluccas 1950 – 1950
    Third Sino-Tibetan War 1950 – 1950
    Cheju Rebellion in South Korea 1948 – 1949
    Arab-Israeli War 1948 – 1949
    Greece Civil War 1946 – 1949
    Chinese Civil War 1946 – 1949
    Costa Rican Civil War 1948 – 1948
    First Kashmir War 1948 – 1948
    Yemeni Imamate War 1948 – 1948
    Civil War in Mandatory Palestine 1947 – 1948
    Telangana Rebellion and Indo-Hyderabad War 1947 – 1948
    Indian Partition Communal Violence 1947 – 1948
    Taiwanese revolt 1947 – 1947
    Madagascar Rebellion 1947 – 1947
    Paraguayan Gvt vs Rebels 1947 – 1947
    Poland and Soviet Union vs Ukrainian Partisans 1945 – 1947
    Indonesian Independence 1945 – 1946
    World War II 1939 – 1945
    Franco-Thai War 1940 – 1941
    Third Sino-Japanese War 1937 – 1941
    The Winter War in Finland 1939 – 1940
    The battle of Khalkhin Gol 1939 – 1939
    Arab revolt in Mandatory Palestine 1936 – 1939
    Second British-Waziristan 1936 – 1939
    Spanish Civil War 1936 – 1939
    Changkufeng Incident 1938 – 1938
    Italo-Ethiopian War 1935 – 1936
    Chaco War 1932 – 1935
    Communists vs Koumintang 1930 – 1935
    Spanish Socialists vs Govt 1934 – 1934
    Saudi-Yemeni War 1934 – 1934
    Xinjiang Muslim Revolt 1931 – 1934
    Manchurian War 1931 – 1933
    Aprista Revolt in Peru 1932 – 1932
    El Salvador, La Matanza 1932 – 1932
    Brazilian Revolt 1932 – 1932
    Saya San Rebellion 1930 – 1932
    Senussi Orden vs Italy 1920 – 1932
    The Yên Bái Uprising 1930 – 1931
    Ikhwan Revolt 1929 – 1930
    Kuomintang vs warlords 1929 – 1930
    Sino-Soviet war 1929 – 1929
    Escobar Rebellion 1929 – 1929
    Second Afghan Anti-Reform War 1928 – 1929
    The Cristero War 1926 – 1929
    Kuomintang vs Gansu Rebels 1928 – 1928
    Northern Expedition 1926 – 1928
    Druze revolt 1925 – 1927
    Third Chinese Warlord War 1925 – 1926
    Third Rif War 1920 – 1926
    Afghan rebels vs govt 1924 – 1925
    Nejd-Hejaz Wars 1919 – 1925
    Honduras Coup 1924 – 1924
    Soviet-Turkestan War 1921 – 1923
    Second Chinese Warlord War 1922 – 1922
    Ireland freestaters vs Irregulars 1921 – 1922
    Moplah Riots in Kerala 1921 – 1922
    Blackshirts vs Leftists 1920 – 1922
    Second Greco Turkish War 1919 – 1922
    Russian Revolution and Civil War 1917 – 1922
    Kronstadt Rebellion 1921 – 1921
    Conquest of Mongolia 1920 – 1921
    Iraq vs UK 1920 – 1921
    Green Rebellion 1920 – 1921
    Turkish War of Independence 1919 – 1921
    First Chinese Warlord War 1920 – 1920
    Franco-Syrian war 1920 – 1920
    Lithuanian-Polish War 1920 – 1920
    Polish-Soviet War 1919 – 1920
    Hungary Civil War 1919 – 1920
    First British-Waziristan War 1919 – 1920
    Latvian Liberation 1918 – 1920
    Estonian Liberation War 1918 – 1920
    Caco Revolt 1918 – 1920
    Mexican Revolution 1910 – 1920
    The Dervish State vs Ethiopia, Britain and Italy 1899 – 1920
    Sparticist Rising 1919 – 1919
    Hungarian–Romanian War of 1919 1919 – 1919
    Third Anglo-Afghan War 1919 – 1919
    Second Sino-Tibetan 1918 – 1918
    Finnish Civil War 1918 – 1918
    Southern China Revolt 1915 – 1918
    World War I 1914 – 1918
    Russia-Turkestan 1916 – 1917
    Chinese Govt vs Bai Lang (White Wolf) Rebels 1914 – 1914
    2nd Balkan War 1913 – 1913
    Kuomintang vs Chinese Army 1913 – 1913
    Moro Rebellion 1913 – 1913
    1st Balkan War 1912 – 1913
    First Sino-Tibetan War 1911 – 1912
    Paraguay Coups 1911 – 1912
    Italo-Turkish War 1911 – 1912
    Chinese Revolution 1911 – 1911
    Cuba vs Partido Independiente de Color 1911 – 1911
    Asir-Yemen Revolt 1910 – 1911
    French Conquest of Wadai Sultanate 1909 – 1911
    The second Rif War 1909 – 1910
    Portugese war against Dembos 1907 – 1910
    Ma al-’Aynayn’s Anti-Colonial Insurgency 1907 – 1910
    Korean guerilla war against Japanese occupation 1907 – 1910
    Iranian Constitution War 1908 – 1909
    Morocco unrest 1907 – 1908
    4th Central American war 1907 – 1907
    Romanian Peasant Revolt 1907 – 1907
    Dutch-Achinese War 1904 – 1907
    Sokoto and UK vs Mahdist Revolt 1906 – 1906
    Zulu Rebellion 1906 – 1906
    Third Central American war 1906 – 1906
    Russian Revolution 1905 1905 – 1906
    Maji Maji revolt 1905 – 1906
    Southwest African Revolt 1904 – 1905
    Russo-Japanese war 1904 – 1905
    Second Yemen Rebellion 1904 – 1904
    Uruguay Civil War 1904 – 1904
    Uprisings in Colonial Angola 1902 – 1904
    Ilinden Uprising 1903 – 1903
    The War of a Thousand Days 1899 – 1903
    Philippine insurrection 1899 – 1902
    Second Boer war 1899 – 1902
    Sino-Russian War 1900 – 1900
    The Boxer Rebellion 1900 – 1900

     

    Note about search on a specific nation: results produced by this feature are incomplete and inconsistent and should be seen as a means to narrow down the list rather than anything else. Work is being done to correct mistakes and standardize the parameters. At the bottom of the list of countries are some nations that do not exist in a similar form today.

    Note about search on a specific year: “ongoing armed conflict” does not imply that all of the conflicts presented for a specific year should be classified as war.

    Note about search on a specific time period: finds all wars that started after a specific year (1st search parameter) and ended before a specific year (2nd param).

    Note about categories: this new feature is currently being tested and the content of these categories may be incomplete or inconsistent. More categories will be added in the future.

     

    © Jon Brunberg 2004-2013

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    Necrometrics

    Estimated Totals for the Entire 20th Century

    Site Index

    Alphabetical Index


    How many people died in all the wars, massacres, slaughters and oppressions of the Twentieth Century? Here are a few atrocitologists who have made estimates:

    • M. Cherif Bassouni, “Searching for peace and achieving justice: the need for accountability”, published on Law and Contemporary Problems, vol. 59: no. 4. [http://www.law.duke.edu/shell/cite.pl?59+Law+&+Contemp.+Probs.+9+(Fall+1996)] (Citing Rummel and SIPRI)
      • 33 million “military casualties” (That’s how the article phrased it, but I presume that means military deaths.)
      • 170 million killed in “conflicts of a non-international charater, internal conflicts and tyrannical regime victimization”)
        • incl. 86M since the Second World War
      • [TOTAL: 203,000,000]
    • Zbigniew BrzezinskiOut of Control: Global Turmoil on the Eve of the Twenty-first Century (1993)
      • “Lives deliberately extinguished by politically motivated carnage”:
        • 167,000,000 to 175,000,000
        • Including:
          • War Dead: 87,500,000
            • Military war dead:
              • 33,500,000
            • Civilian war dead:
              • 54,000,000
          • Not-war Dead: 80,000,000
            • Communist oppression:
              • 60,000,000
    • David BarrettWorld Christian Encyclopedia (2001)
    • Stephane CourtoisThe Black Book of Communism
      • Victims of Communism only: 85-100M
    • Milton Leitenberg[http://www.pcr.uu.se/Leitenberg_paper.pdf]
      • Politically caused deaths in the 20th C: 214M to 226M, incl…
        • Deaths in wars and conflicts, incl. civilian: 130M-142M
        • Political deaths, 1945-2000: 50M-51M
    • Not The Enemy Media[http://nottheenemy.com/index_files/Death%20Counts/Death%20Counts.htm]
      • Killed through U.S. foreign policy since WWII, as of July 2003: 10,778,727 to 16,861,695 (1945-May 2003)
    • Rudolph J. RummelDeath By Government
      • “Democides” – Government inflicted deaths (1900-87)
        • 169,198,000
        • Including:
          • Communist Oppression: 110,286,000
          • Democratic democides: 2,028,000
      • Not included among democides:
        • Wars: 34,021,000
        • Non-Democidal Famine (often including famines associated with war and communist mismanagement):
          • China (1900-87): 49,275,000
          • Russia: (1921-47): 5,833,000
      • Total:
        • 258,327,000 for all the categories listed here.
    • Me (Matthew WhiteHistorical Atlas of the Twentieth Century, 2010):
      • Deaths by War and Oppression during the 20th Century: 203 million
    Military Collateral* Democide Famine Total
    Wartime 37m 27m 41m 18m 123m
    Peacetime 0 0 40m 40m 80m
    TOTAL 37m 27m 81m 58m 203m
      • * Collateral = civilian deaths that are generally considered to be an unavoidable, legitimate byproduct of waging war.
      • FAQ: How did you get these totals?
      • My estimate for the Communist share of the century’s unpleasantness:
        • Genocide & Tyranny: 29M
          • (incl. intentional famine)
        • Man-made Famine: 41M
          • (excl. intentional famine, but including both wartime and peacetime)
        • Communist-inspired War (for example the Russian Civil War, Vietnam, Korea, etc.)
          • Military: 7m
          • Civilian (collateral): 10m
          • NOTE: With these numbers, I’m tallying every combat death and accidental civilian death in the war, without differentiating who died, who did it or who started it. According to whichever theory of Just War you are working from, the Communists may be entirely blameless, or entirely to blame, for these 17M dead.
        • TOTAL: 87M deaths by Communism.
        • RESIDUE: 116M deaths by non-Communism.

    For Comparison:

    • Total Deaths During the 20th Century
      • Carl Haub, “How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?” (Population Today, November/December 2002) [http://www.prb.org/articles/2002/howmanypeoplehaveeverlivedonearth.aspx]
      • From Haub’s chart, it looks like there were 9,801,490,715 births between 1900 and 2002. Added to the 1,656,000,000 alive in 1900, it seems that 11,457,490,715 people lived during the 20th Century. With only ca. 6 billion still alive in 2000, the century probably saw about 5.5 billion deaths.
      • That means that the 203 million multicides I’ve counted in the 20th Century would account for 3.7% of all deaths, or 1 out of every 27.
    • Smallpox in the 20thC:
      • Mannfred Hollinger, Introduction to Pharmacology: Half a billion people worldwide in the 20th C.
      • John Campbell, Campbell’s Physiology Notes for Nurses: smallpox killed 300 million in the 20th Century.
      • Michael Oldstone, Viruses, Plagues, and History: 300M
      • Albert Marrin, Dr. Jenner and the Speckled Monster: 300M
    • Smoking:
      • R. Peto, “Mortality from tobacco in developed countries: indirect estimation from national vital statistics”, Lancet, 23 May 1992:
        • 1930-59: 11,000,000
        • 1960s: 9,000,000
        • 1970s: 13,000,000
        • 1980s: 17,000,000
        • 1990s: 21,000,000
        • TOTAL (1930-1999): 71,000,000 tobacco-related deaths in developed countries. (US, Europe, USSR, Canada, Japan, Australia, NZ)
      • Note: Although the bulk of humanity lives outside developed countries, tobacco-related deaths are not as common there, largely because the average Third World life expectancy does not leave enough time to develop cancer and heart disease. Ditto for the developed world prior to 1930. Basically, smoking is a rich man’s way to die.
      • The World Health Organization estimates that 3 million people die each year worldwide from tobacco, which becomes 900,000 3rd-Worlders when we subtract the 2.1 million 1st- and 2nd-Worlders calculated by Peto (yearly average for the 1990s, above). This indicates some 9 million tobacco deaths in non-developed countries during the 1990s and (using the same ratio) perhaps 5 million during the 1980s. If we continue this ratio all the way back, we get an even hundred million deaths by tobacco worldwide; however, as Peto puts it, “the epidemic is generally at an earlier stage,” so the tobacco-related mortality rate in the third world was relatively low before 1980. Let’s add only another 5 million for the years prior to 1980, bringing the century total up to 90,000,000.
    • Cats and Dogs
    • Influenza Pandemic, 1918-19:
      • Gilbert: 13,000,000
      • Encarta: 20,000,000 (also Time: Great Events of the 20th Century; also 30 June 1998 Washington Post)
      • Michael Howard, The Oxford History of the Twentieth Century: 20M d. in 1919 flu.
      • Our Times: 21,642,274
      • MEDIAN: ca. 21M
      • Wallechinsky: 30,000,000
      • R.S. Bray, Armies of Pestilence: the Impace of Disease on History (1996): 25-50M, citing Burnet & White
      • John M. Barry, The Great Influenza(2004)
        • 1927 AMA study: 21M
        • 1940s McFarlane Burnet est. 50-100M
        • 2002 epidem. study: 50-100M
      • Spartacus [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWinfluenzia.htm]: >70,000,000
      • NOTE: Because the first outbreaks of the disease were often spread via troop movements, the temptation is to add allthe world’s pandemic deaths to the death toll of World War I, thereby raising it from ca. 15M to more than 35M; however, I have never seen an actual, published history of the First World War do this. Yes, histories of the war will count the soldiers and refugees that died of the flu in camps, but obviously not the millions in, say, China or India, that died far from any battlefield, long after the armistice.
    • AIDS:
    • Homicide:
      • Very, very rough estimate until I research this more fully: 8.5 million murders worldwide, 1900-1999.
      • What I do know so far:
        • Brazil: 350,000 murders in 1990s (24 Oct. 1999 Guardian)
        • USA 1960-96: 666,160 murders and (non-negligent) manslaughters (Statistical Abstract of the United Stateshttp://www.census.gov/statab/freq/98s0335.txt)
        • USA 1900-59: 390,136 murders (Watenburg, The Statistical History of the United States, 1976)
        • USA TOTAL: 1,056,296 (more or less — depending on how you want to count manslaughters)
      • 739,938 murders worldwide, 1986-90, excluding the USA (http://www.ifs.univie.ac.at/uncjin/mosaic/ccrimes/tothom.txt). The USA produced 12.5% of the world’s murders during the years 1986-90, so if we apply that ratio to the entire century, then it would indicate that 7.35M murders were committed worldwide (but outside the US), 1900-96. It looks like the century total is somewhere near 1.05M in US + 7.35M elsewhere.
      • Maybe this 8.5?M should be added to the wars and oppressions under the category of deaths “caused by fellow humans”, above. If you want to do this, go ahead.
    • Natural Disasters:
      • According to a 20 December 1999 press release from the reinsurance company Munich Re, a total of 3.5 million people were killed in 20th Century disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and volcanos, but not drought or famine. (A total of 15M were killed by disasters during the entire Second Millennium.) [http://www.munichre.com]
    • Racism:
      • Just out of curiosity, I decided to calculate the death toll of racism in the United States, and it certainly looks like non-whites suffered 3,300,000 excess deaths from 1900 to 1970.
      • Sources: Throughout most of American history, non-whites have had a significantly higher death rate than whites. As there’s no natural reason for whites to live longer than non-whites, the cause for this difference must be social — rooted in poverty and manifesting itself in malnutrition, inadequate public health, substandard medical care, homicide, alcoholism, suicide and drug addiction.
      • If we subtract the number of non-whites who would have died anyway (even at a white death rate) from the number who did die — year-by-year — and then add it all up, we get our total number of excess deaths.
      • Because this is just my calculations — not peer-reviewed or gathered from a reputable source — I’ll give you a lot of detail. My source for the raw numbers is Watenburg, The Statistical History of the United States (1976). As an example of my methods, consider this: in 1920, the death rate for whites was 12.6/1000, while for non-whites it was 17.7/1000. Now, if we multiply the non-white death rate by the estimated non-white population of 10,951,000, we find that there were approximately 193,833 deaths among non-whites in 1920. If they had died at the white death rate, however, there would only have been 137,983 deaths. Therefore, we’ve got 55,850 excess deaths caused by the socioeconomic handicap of not being white.
      • Decade by decade, here are the totals:
        Decade Excess Deaths
        1960s 65,000
        1950s 200,000
        1940s 300,000
        1930s 535,000
        1920s 630,000
        1910s 735,000
        1900s 835,000
        TOTAL 3,300,000
      • Escape Hatch: Since no one’s paying me to be mired in controversy, I’ll give a short list of why this calculation might not mean what it seems to mean. I’ll leave it to philosophers and statisticians to iron out these problems:
        1. I haven’t adjusted for age differences.
        2. I haven’t adjusted for geographic differences — specifically, I haven’t taken into account that the South has traditionally been unhealthier than the North for both blacks and whites. Since the black population has been disproportionately Southern, then this has boosted their death rates.
        3. Suicide, drug addiction, alcoholism, etc. are often considered to be matters of free will.
        4. Homicides are customarily blamed on the individual murderers rather than society as a whole.
      • To give you a chance to check behind me, here are all the calculations in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, compressed with PKZip.
    • Decommuniziation:
      • Jerry Hough, LA Times 18 August 1998 Op-Ed: With the collapse of communism in Russia, poverty and death rates soared, and some 3 million people in Russia died who would have been alive if the old life expectancy rates had been maintained. [http://www.brook.edu/views/op-ed/hough/19980818.htm]
      • The Times (London) 27 Jan. 2000: The Russian population is roughly six million lower than if birth and death rates had stayed constant since the fall of communism.
      • 28 Dec. 1994 Plain Dealer: 360,000 more Russians died in 1993 than in 1992.
    • Medical Mistakes:
      • According to a 1999 report from the Institute of Medicine, 44,000 to 98,000 Americans die unnecessarily every year from medical mistakes made by health care professionals. (30 Nov. 1999Washington Post, 30 Nov. 1999 AP, or pretty much any news source that day.)
    • Eaten by Tigers:
      • According to official statistics [http://dsal.uchicago.edu/statistics/], 34,075 people were killed by tigers in British-administered India, 1875-1912. That includes 11,423 k. 1900-1912.

    List of Recurring Sources



    FAQ

    How did you get these totals?

    Simple — I added everything up. If you sum the first five of the century’s top 30 atrocities, you get a bit over 142M. Summing the first 10 brings the total to 157M, while the sum of the first 20 is 171.7M. It may look like, at this rate, we’ll shoot past 188M in no time at all, but notice how the body counts get smaller at each level — from 142M for the 1st 5 to 15M for the next 5 to a mere 14M or so for the next 10. Pretty soon, we get to the point where a single atrocity doesn’t noticably shift the total at all.

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    Last updated September 2010

    Copyright © 1999-2010 Matthew White

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