World Facts

Countries That Underreport Deaths

Niger discloses only 3% of the total number of deaths to the UN Population Division.

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The United Nations Population Division was established back in 1946 and was tasked with serving as the Population’s Commission Secretariat at that time. As the years have progressed, the Division’s roles have expanded to include things like maintaining dialogue between countries over development and population. Other roles include coming up with demographic data and estimates for all countries, organizing UN conferences on population, and other roles. The Division works closely with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) to achieve these goals. Ultimately, the Division is a global leader in researching, analyzing, and presenting data to do with demographics.

Disclosure of Death Statistics 

Data shows that the country that discloses the least percentage of the total number of deaths is Niger with the country disclosing only 3%. Yemen is in the second place with the country disclosing only 16% while Bolivia is third at 31% disclosure of the total deaths. Guernsey and Jersey are in the fourth position while Kenya closes the top five with only 42% disclosure. Nicaragua and Aruba are ninth and tenth with 68% and 69% respectively.

The reasons for non-disclosure are wide and varied since death comes from a number of places such as road accidents. Looking at one of the countries on the list, Kenya, the World Health Organization recently reported that the country is not reporting all its deaths that result from road accidents. According to the report, the number of deaths reported in 2018 was only a quarter of the total deaths. However, the confusion arises from the definition used to identify road deaths, that is, deaths that happen at the scene of the accident. In reality, there are much more deaths that happen after the crash in hospitals. The deaths that happened after the road crash were not reported because of the narrow definition in use.

Another possible reason for the underreporting of deaths in these countries is a lack of well-developed systems for reporting these deaths. For example, looking at the case of Kenya above, the country lacks strong and reliable data systems. In some cases, the deaths that happen in the country are not reported to the proper authorities for record keeping and reporting. Looking at the serious underreporting of deaths that happen from road accidents is a valid pointer because the risk of road deaths is extremely high in undeveloped nations. All these countries on the list are not fully developed and are therefore high-risk areas. In comparison, Europe, which has plenty of developed countries and developed systems, does not have a high risk of road accidents.

Effects of Underreporting Deaths to the UN

As stated earlier, the United Nations Population Division uses the mortality data in order to come up with analyses. The analyzed data is then distributed to several consumers and countries in order to come up with strategies that will work in different countries and identify the countries with the most need. If the data is erroneous, then countries in need are more likely to be ignored or not given sufficient aid.

Failure To Disclose National Death Statistics To The UN Population Division

RankExample CountriesEstimated % of Deaths Reported to UN Population Division
1Niger3%
2Yemen16%
3Bolivia31%
4Guernsey and Jersey36%
5Kenya42%
6Botswana43%
7Dominican Republic54%
8Peru59%
9Nicaragua68%
10Aruba69%

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