Estimates of alcohol-related mortality in Serbia (2016-2018)

  • Ivan Marinković Demographic Research Centre, Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade (Serbia)
Keywords: mortality by age and sex, alcohol, preventable mortality, causes of death, spatial distribution of mortality


The impact of alcohol on mortality is not negligible, not globally and especially not in Europe. Alcohol as a mortality factor in Serbia has not yet been specifically analysed, chiefly due to a lack of data. The cultural pattern and results from surrounding countries – as well as research on the extent of alcohol consumption in Serbia – all suggest that alcohol-related mortality represents a significant share of total mortality, especially when it comes to men. The results of the study on alcohol abuse or excessive consumption in this paper do not confirm that this mortality factor places a significant burden on the population. This paper provides estimates of alcohol-related mortality using guidelines from the World Health Organization.

Analysis of the direct impact and estimates of the indirect impact of alcohol on mortality in Serbia (2016-2018) show that the average number of deaths is about 2,500 annually. The number of alcohol-related deaths is highest in the later years of life, while the proportion of alcohol-related deaths is highest in early adulthood. Men are more likely to consume alcohol, so their mortality is higher as a consequence. Men die from alcohol-related causes at a rate almost four times higher than that of women, and they have more deaths caused by alcohol than women across all age groups. The overall alcohol-related mortality rate for men is 56.6 per 100,000, while for women it is significantly lower at 14.2 per 100,000. The most common cause of alcohol-related mortality is in the form of digestive system diseases (about 26% of all alcohol-related deaths in Serbia), followed by tumours and violence (24% and 23% respectively).

From region to region (NUTS 2), significant differences in alcohol-related mortality can be noted. Every third death due to alcohol occurs in Vojvodina, which leads the way for both sexes. There, values for men are as much as 60% higher than those in the Šumadija and Western Serbia regions, while those values are about 30% higher for women. Standardised alcohol-related death rates are highest in the north of Vojvodina, in the districts of North Bačka and North Banat (NUTS 3). Moravički, Šumadija, and Pirot districts have values that are about 30% lower than average for Serbia.

Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the preventable mortality factors that can be addressed with appropriate prevention measures. Some good reasons to avoid alcohol abuse include longer lifespan, lower likelihood of depression, significantly lower likelihood of committing suicide, and lower likelihood of dying from liver disease. Those who drink less are also less likely to be involved in a car accident or have to deal with the police. When consumed in excess, alcohol disrupts family relationships, leads to obesity, damages the brain, and causes sexual dysfunction.


Download data is not yet available.


Bagnardi, V., Rota, M., Botteri, E., Tramacere, I., Islami, F., Fedirko, V., … La Vecchia, C. (2015). Alcohol consumption and site-specific cancer risk: a comprehensive dose–response meta-analysis. British Journal of Cancer, 112(3), 580–593.

Borges, G., Bagge, C. L., Cherpitel, C. J., Conner, K. R., Orozco, R., & Rossow, I. (2017). A meta-analysis of acute use of alcohol and the risk of suicide attempt. Psychological Medicine, 47(5), 949–957.

Bruha R., Dvorak K., & Petrtyl, J. (2012). Alcoholic liver disease. World Journal of Hepatolology, 4(3), 81-90.

Grundstrom, A. C., Guse, C. E., & Layde, P. M. (2012). Risk factors for falls and fall-related injuries in adults 85 years of age and older. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 54(3), 421–428.

Guiraud, V., Amor, M. B., Mas, J. L., & Touzé, E. (2010). Triggers of ischemic stroke: a systematic review. Stroke, 41(11), 2669–2677.

Hemstrom, O. (2002). Alcohol-related deaths contribute to socioeconomic differentials in mortality in Sweden. The European Journal of Public Health, 12(4), 254–262.

IZJZS Batut (2013). Međunarodna statistička klasifikacija bolesti i srodnih zdravstvenih problema. Deseta revizija. Beograd: Institut za javno zdravlje Srbije „Dr Milan Jovanović Batut“.

IZJZS Batut (2014). Rezultati istraživanja zdravlja stanovništva Srbije: 2013. godina. Institut za javno zdravlje Srbije „Dr Milan Jovanović Batut”.

Jakovljevic, M. B., Jovanovic, M., & Lesch, O. M. (2015). Accessibility and affordability of alcohol dependency medical care in Serbia. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 5, 192.

Jakovljević, B., Stojanov, V., Paunović, K., Belojević, G., & Milić, N. (2004). Alcohol consumption and mortality in Serbia: Twenty-year follow-up study. Croatian Medical Journal, 45(6), 764–768.

Klatsky, A (2015). Alcohol and cardiovascular diseases: where do we stand today? Journal of Internal Medicine, 278(3), 238–250.

Kilibarda, B., Mravcik, V., Sieroslawski, J., Gudelј Rakić, J., & Martens, S. (2014). National survey on life styles of citizens in Serbia 2014: Substance use and gambling. Institute of Public Health of Serbia.

Leong, D. P., Smyth, A., Teo, K. K., McKee, M., Rangarajan, S., Pais, P., … Yusuf, S. (2014). Patterns of Alcohol Consumption and Myocardial Infarction Risk. Circulation, 130(5), 390–398.

Lim, S. S., Vos, T., Flaxman, A. D., Danaei, G., Shibuya, K., Adair-Rohani, H., … Memish, Z. A. (2012). A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The Lancet, 380(9859), 2224–2260.

Mäkelä, K., & Mustonen, H. (2000). Relationships of drinking behaviour, gender and age with reported negative and positive experiences related to drinking. Addiction, 95(5), 727–736.

Marinković, I. (2017). Pušenje kao osnovni faktor preventabilne smrtnosti u Srbiji. Stanovništvo, 55(1), 87-106.

Marinković, I. (2018). Demografska analiza razlike u smrtnosti muškog i ženskog stanovništva. Demografija, 15, 1‒17.

McCartney, G., Mahmood, L., Leyland, A. H., Batty, G. D., & Hunt, K. (2011). Contribution of smoking-related and alcohol-related deaths to the gender gap in mortality: evidence from 30 European countries. Tobacco Control, 20(2), 166–168.

Mihailovic, N., Szőllősi, G. J., Rancic, N., János, S., Boruzs, K., Nagy, A. C., … Jakovljevic, M. (2020). Alcohol consumption among the elderly citizens in Hungary and Serbia—comparative assessment. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(4), 1289.

Nelson, D. E., Jarman, D. W., Rehm, J., Greenfield, T. K., Rey, G., Kerr, W. C., … Naimi, T. S. (2013). Alcohol-Attributable Cancer Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 103(4), 641–648.

Pakovic, L., Todorovic, J., Santric-Milicevic, M., Bukumiric, D., & Terzic-Supic, Z. (2019). The association between social characteristics, alcoholic beverage preferences, and binge drinking in a Serbian adult population. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 36(1), 36–50.

Pimpin, L., Cortez-Pinto, H., Negro, F., Corbould, E., Lazarus, J. V., Webber, L., & Sheron, N. (2018). Burden of liver disease in Europe: Epidemiology and analysis of risk factors to identify prevention policies. Journal of Hepatology, 69(3), 718–735.

Radovanovic, S., Vasiljevic, D., Kocic, S., Radevic, S., Milosavljević, M., & Mihailovic, N. (2016). The Prevalence of Alcohol Consumption by Adolescents in Serbia and Its Correlation with Sociodemographic Factors – A National Survey. Serbian Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research, 17(3), 241–246.

Roerecke, M., & Rehm, J. (2012). The cardioprotective association of average alcohol consumption and ischaemic heart disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Addiction, 107(7), 1246–1260.

Roerecke, M., & Rehm, J. (2014). Alcohol consumption, drinking patterns, and ischemic heart disease: a narrative review of meta-analyses and a systematic review and metaanalysis of the impact of heavy drinking occasions on risk for moderate drinkers. BMC Medicine, 12, 182.

Scoccianti, C., Straif, K., & Romieu, I. (2013). Recent evidence on alcohol and cancer epidemiology. Future oncology, 9(9), 1315–1322.

Taylor, B., Irving, H. M., Kanteres, F., Room, R., Borges, G., Cherpitel, C., … Rehm, J. (2010). The more you drink, the harder you fall: A systematic review and meta-analysis of how acute alcohol consumption and injury or collision risk increase together. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 110(1-2), 108–116.

WHO (2000). International guide for monitoring alcohol consumption and related harm. Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster, World Health Organization.

WHO (2014). Global status report on alcohol and health 2014. World Health Organization.

WHO (2018). Global status report on alcohol and health 2018. World Health Organization

WHO (2019). Status report on alcohol consumption, harm and policy responses in 30 European countries 2019. World Health Organization - Regional Office for Europe

How to Cite
Marinković, I. (2020). Estimates of alcohol-related mortality in Serbia (2016-2018). Stanovnistvo, 58(1), 89-111.