2. Fatal accidents and violence

In 2009, accidents caused the death of 2,903 persons, of whom 1,986 were men and 917 women. Accidents, including alcohol poisonings, caused around six per cent of all deaths.

Fatal accidents are such as fatal traffic accidents, fatal falls and stumbles, drownings, fatal fires and alcohol and drug poisonings. Fatal accidents are classified by the external cause of the accident. The cause of an accident is derived from the classification of diseases (ICD-10, group XX).

Figure 1a. Fatal accidents among men in 2009

Figure 1a. Fatal accidents among men in 2009

Figure 1b. Fatal accidents among women in 2009

Figure 1b. Fatal accidents among women in 2009

Among both men and women the most common accidents leading to death were falls or stumbles, in which a total of 1,188 persons died. Fifty-seven per cent of them were men. Over one third of men's fatal accidents and over one half of women's were caused by falls or stumbles.

The next most common causes of fatal accidents were alcohol and drug poisonings. A total of 473 persons died from alcohol poisonings, of whom 80 per cent were men. In all, 349 persons died of drug poisonings, 70 per cent of whom were men. The majority of these deaths concerned working-age people. Fatal poisonings also include cases involving both drug and alcohol. Then the cause of death is determined according to the most effective substance. In all, 32 per cent of men's fatal accidents were caused by accidental alcohol or drug poisonings. The corresponding figure for women was 20.4 per cent.

In all, 311 persons died in transportation accidents, two thirds of them were men. Among men around one in ten (11.7%) fatal accidents took place in traffic (transportation), among women slightly fewer (8.5% of women's fatal accidents).

There were 169 drowning accidents, the majority of whom were men, i.e. 87 per cent. A total of 124 persons died by drowning of whom 45 in water traffic.

In fatal accidents intoxication means that the doctor signing the death certificate judged that alcohol had contributed to the death. The number of fatal accidents while intoxicated has been around 500 persons in recent years. In 2009, a total of 2,081 persons died accidentally (excl. actual alcohol and drug poisonings), of whom 22 per cent were intoxicated, or 462 persons. In heat of sauna deaths 34 out of 39 persons were intoxicated at death; in fires (57%), in drowning accidents (55%) and among those dying of cold over one half (54%) were intoxicated. Every fifth road traffic fatality occurred while intoxicated.

Table 3. Deaths in accidents by cause of accident and share of accidents while intoxicated in deaths in 1999 and 2009

  Accidental deaths Of which under alcohol intoxication 1) Accidental deaths Of which under alcohol intoxication 1) Accidental deaths Of which under alcohol intoxication 1)
1999 2009 1999 2009 1999 2009 1999 2009 1999 2009 1999 2009
Falls 1 014 1 188 12,5 11,2 528 679 20,4 16,6 486 509 3,9 3,9
Transport accidents (excl. drownings) 487 311 21,1 24,8 348 233 26,7 28,8 139 78 7,2 12,8
Drowning 251 169 55,4 56,8 207 147 59,9 55,8 44 22 34,1 63,6
Fire 74 89 56,8 65,2 59 67 66,1 71,6 15 22 20,0 45,5
Natural cold 72 68 54,2 41,2 52 49 57,7 44,9 20 19 45,0 31,6
Eating, inhalation of food 93 49 45,2 42,9 62 29 53,2 44,8 31 20 29,0 40,0
Heat of sauna 31 39 87,1 64,1 26 28 88,5 78,6 5 11 80,0 27,3
Accidentalpoisoning by carbon monoxide 11 16 45,5 43,8 9 12 55,6 50,0 2 4 0,0 25,0
Other accidents 157 152 7,6 11,8 116 107 10,3 14,9 41 45 0,0 4,4
Accidents total, excl. poisoningsby alcohol and medicaments 2) 2 190 2 081 24,5 22,2 1 407 1 351 33,2 28,8 783 730 8,8 10,1
1) Alcohol intoxications
2) The figure does not include alcohol poisonings (473 deaths in 2009) or poisonings by drugs (349 deaths in 2009).

2.1 Homicides and suicides

The doctor signing the death certificate determines whether the person's death was caused by a homicide. A total of 110 persons, 83 men and 27 women, died as a result of a homicide in 2009.

The number of suicides was 1,034 in 2009. Three quarters of suicides were men, or 761. The number of suicides has fallen clearly during the last few years. The figure was at its highest in 1990, when there were a total of 1,520 suicides in Finland. The number of suicides has been highest around 1990 and lowest in the last few years, i.e. about 1,000 persons per year.

For some deaths it is not possible to determine whether the death had been intentional. Then deaths are classified under unclear cases, of which there were 96 cases, 66 men and 30 women.


Source: Causes of death, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Irmeli Penttilä (09) 1734 3253, Helena Korpi (09) 1734 3605, Ulla Arkkio (09) 1734 3757, kuolemansyyt@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma


Updated 22.2.2011

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. Annual review 2009, 2. Fatal accidents and violence . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 21.10.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2009/01/ksyyt_2009_01_2011-02-22_kat_003_en.html