Updated 25 March 2014

Something about Cape Town makes one live longer

While Capetonians have a longer life span than those who live in Tshwane, it appears that there are more fatalities in the Mother City than in the capital of Gauteng.


Capetonians have a longer life span than Tshwane residents, according to Statistics SA (StatsSA).

Men in Cape Town lived on average to 54, while their Tshwane counterparts lived to 52. Capetonian women lived up to 64, while in Tshwane the age for women was 56.

The figures for the two metropolitan areas were based on StatsSA's report for mortality and causes of death for 2011. They were released by Statistician General Pali Lehohla in Tshwane.

Read: Global life spans continue to lengthen

Causes of deaths

While it seemed that Capetonians had a longer life span than those on the Highveld, the report revealed that 26 466 fatalities were reported in the Western Cape capital city in 2011. Gauteng's capital showed a lower figure at 19 547.

In the leading causes of natural deaths, Tuberculosis (TB) led the statistics in both areas, with 8.2% in Tshwane and 6.6% in Cape Town.

Deaths caused by diseases stemming from HIV were much higher in Cape Town, at 5.7%. In Tshwane it was 2%. Chronic lower respiratory diseases, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia were also high on the list of causes of natural death.

Mortality was, however, dropping nationally, with a total of 505 803 deaths registered in the country in 2011, said Lehohla.

"The number of deaths between 2010 and 2011 decreased by 7.7%, while during 2009-2010 and 2008-2009, the number of deaths decreased by 5.6% and 2.6% respectively," he said.

Lehohla said KwaZulu-Natal accounted for most fatalities, at 21%, while Gauteng claimed 20% of the deaths, and the Eastern Cape came in third at 14%.

A total of 45 990 of all fatalities were due to unnatural causes. Unnatural deaths included accidents, assaults, complications in medical and surgical operations, and suicides. The majority of all fatalities occurred outside healthcare facilities.

Deaths according to age group

Lehohla said TB proved to be the leading cause of death in both males and females. The disease was responsible for 12% of deaths among males, and 10% in women.

Influenza and pneumonia were also high on the list of leading causes of death. Youngsters from birth to 14 years old died mostly from intestinal infectious disease 14% by influenza and pneumonia 10% and respiratory and cardiovascular disorders 9%.

7% of 15 to 49-year-olds died due to HIV. The same percentage died of influenza and pneumonia, while 18 % died of TB.

TB also proved to be the leading cause of death among 50 to 64-year-olds. 6% died of TB and cerebrovascular diseases. People aged 65 years and older died mostly of cerebrovascular diseases 18%, while 8% died of other forms of heart disease and 7% died of diabetes.

The report also revealed that at 15 %, the occurrence of non-natural causes of death was highest in the 15 to 49-year-old age groups.

61% of all non-natural deaths stemmed from accidental injuries, 11% from assault, 14% from undetermined intent, and 3% from medical and surgical complications, which included pregnancy and birth complications.

11% of non-natural deaths also occurred due to transport accidents, while 1% occurred due to suicide.

Mortality declining

The leading causes of death among black and coloured people was TB, reported at 12 and 8% respectively. Most fatalities among Indian people was caused by diabetes 13.5%, while fatalities among white people 11.3% were mostly due to heart disease.

Female deaths peaked between the ages of 30 and 34 years, while male deaths peaked between 35 and 39. "Mortality in general is declining... particularly among females," said Lehohla.

He explained that the 2011 report was released only in 2014 as there had been a delay in obtaining all the information needed to complete it.

The 2012/2013 report, however, was to be released later this year.

Read more:

Look after your brain

Fat on old people shortens life span

Study shows declining life span for US women


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