Neither cancer nor traffic accidents: this is the first cause of death in Spain

Death is an inevitable reality that generates uncertainty. Some people would like to know the reason for their death, while others would prefer not to know to avoid having their lives affected. Despite the fear it may cause, Death is something we will all face sooner or later.

Although we will never know with certainty the specific cause of our death, we can know the general trends in our country thanks to the data collected annually by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). These data allow us to understand what are the main causes of mortality in Spain and in the process, draw conclusions about public health and areas that require greater attention.

INE data

According to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), During the first half of 2023, 221,462 deaths were registered in Spain, 6.0% less than in the same period of the previous year. Of these, 111,247 were men (7.0% less) and 110,215 were women (5.0% less).

Main causes of death

The main causes of death were:

  • Circulatory system diseases: 27.1% of deaths.
  • Tumors: 25.8%.
  • Diseases of the respiratory system: 11.5%.
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Other important causes included:

  • Diseases of the nervous system: 5.8%.
  • Diseases of the digestive system: 5.3%.

Regarding the first half of 2022, respiratory diseases increased by 23.7%. On the other hand, Deaths from infectious diseases, including COVID-19, decreased by 69.8%ceasing to be one of the five main causes of death.

Causes of death by sex


  • Tumors: 33,619 deaths.
  • Diseases of the circulatory system: 28,342.
  • Diseases of the respiratory system: 13,775.


  • Diseases of the circulatory system: 31,768.
  • Tumors: 23,449.
  • Diseases of the respiratory system: 11,708.

Deaths from pneumonia increased by 36.5%, and chronic lower respiratory diseases increased by 14.8%. Deaths from COVID-19 decreased by 82.1%, no longer being among the ten most frequent causes.

External causes of death

There were 8,444 deaths from external causes:

  • Suicide: 1,967 deaths (75.2% men).
  • Accidental falls: 1,811 deaths.
  • Drowning, submersion and suffocation: 1,794 deaths.
  • Traffic accidents: 760 deaths.

Results by Communities and Autonomous Cities

In the first half of 2023, Cantabria, Melilla and Aragón recorded the greatest decreases in mortality with 13.4%, 12.1% and 9.8% less, respectively, compared to the same period in 2022. In contrast, Ceuta (1.0% less), Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha (both with 3.7% less) had the smallest decreases.

Aragón, Ceuta and Asturias experienced the largest increases in deaths from diseases of the circulatory system, while Melilla, Cantabria and Galicia experienced the largest decreases.

In deaths due to tumors, Melilla, the Balearic Islands and Aragon showed the greatest increases, and Melilla also presented the greatest increase in deaths due to diseases of the respiratory system, followed by Navarra and Catalonia.

Tips to not fear death

Fear of death is a common concern, but There are several ways to approach it so that it does not condition your life. Accepting the reality of death is an important first step. Understanding that death is a natural part of life can help you. Reflecting on the cycle of life and how all living things go through this process can offer a calmer perspective.

Living in the present is another useful strategy. Focusing on the present moment and enjoying daily experiences can reduce anxiety about the future. Practicing mindfulness can help you focus on the “here and now,” allowing you to enjoy the present more and reduce worry about what’s to come.

Finding purpose and meaning in life can also mitigate the fear of death. Identify a purpose and Working toward meaningful goals can provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Feeling that your life has a purpose can reduce the fear of its end.

For many people, spirituality or religion offer comfort and a way to understand death. Exploring these areas, if you feel they could help you, can offer a calmer perspective on the end of life. Besides, Talking about your fears with friends, family, or a therapist can ease the emotional burden. Sharing your thoughts and concerns can make the topic of death less taboo and more manageable.

Do Practical preparations, such as wills and medical wishes, can give a sense of control and reduce anxiety about the future. Find information and education about death and the process of dying can demystify the topic and make it less scary.

Finally, Encouraging gratitude can shift your focus toward the positive things in your life. Practicing gratitude regularly can help you appreciate the time you have, rather than fearing its end. By incorporating these tips into your life, you can find ways to reduce the fear of death and live a fuller life less conditioned by this inevitable aspect of human existence.