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.


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