This insane chart shows how violence has spiked - and declined - since 1400


The good news is: we're killing each other less.

The bad news is: we've been killing each other in armed conflict for a long, long time.

You can see those trends in this new graph from Oxford economist Max Roser:


ourworldindata_wars long run military civilian fatalities from brecke1 (2)

Max Roser / Creative Commons

The chart, which recently made it to the front of the Data is Beautiful subreddit, comes with a few takeaways:

The first half of the 20th century was rough. During World War I, about 90 per 100,000 people died in battle. In World War II, that number spiked to 200 people for every 100,000.


The 17th century was brutal. About 150 of 100,000 died during the 30 Years' War that dominated central Europe from 1618 to 1648.

It's way better now. In 2000, about 2 in every 100,000 died in armed conflict. Interestingly, that's a very similar to figure to all the way back in 1400.

A note on methodology: The chart uses a logarithmic scale, which is useful when showing data that covers a huge range of values. The vertical axis increases by powers of ten, rather than a constant linear unit.


Roser drew that data from the Centre for Global Economic History's Conflict Catalog. For more from Roser, head to his fantastic site, Our World in Data.

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