Thoughts on violence in the United Kingdom? How do you think the VDR could be lowered? Feel free to comment below.

british flag deaths Current VDR: 1.3 Life Expectancy: 79

Average VDR over nation’s history: 17.6

Average VDR over current life expectancy: 10.6

Lifetime Chance Of Dying By Someone Else’s Hands (2008 rate): 1/974

Lifetime Chance Of Dying By Someone Else’s Hands (Duration of Life Expectancy): 1/119

Average Military Death Rate over Nation’s History: 11.2

Average Homicide/Execution Rate over Nation’s History: 6.4

Link To Spreadsheets

Category Of VDR# of Years-% of Nation’s History-Year of Last Occurrence

OBLITERATION2 (.5%) 1917

DECIMATION4 (.9%) 1918



WATCH YOUR BACK5 (1.2%) 1798

HARSH LIVING17 (4%) 1804

SOMEWHAT STABLE107 (25%) 1900

SOME CONCERN83 (19%) 1919

LOW LIKELIHOOD33 (7.7%) 1899

PEACEFUL36 (8.4%) 1902

UTOPIA124 (29%) 2008

English history of war and homicide deaths

The British violent death history, for the time being, will begin in 1580. Statistics (even rough estimates) become much harder to find before then. So, keep in mind that some of the most brutal periods in English history, from the founding of the modern nation in 1066, through the Hundred Years War, and the Dark Ages… are not included yet.

violent death rates separated Uk

As I pointed out in purple arrows in the first graph, there are 4 periods in British history that stick out like sore thumbs.

1) World War 1 {1914-1918}. By and far the costliest conflict in terms of life in the history of the UK. This is the only time in which England was forced to endure Obliteration level casualties.

2) The Wars Of The Three Kingdoms {1639-1651}. I love that nickname by the way. Between the 3 flair ups of the English Civil War, to the atrocious blood letting that was the Irish Rebellion… the British Isles were a daaaaaangerous place to be. Then they followed it up with the First Anglo-Dutch War, why not I guess. It should be noted that I don’t count any Irish deaths in these stats; if I did, the VDR would be through the roof, much higher than WW1 even.

3) World War 2 {1939-1945}. Ever heard of it? I thought so.

4) Napoleonic Wars {1804-1815}. Not just the conflict on the continent, but the beef with the Americans as well.

With the exception of these wars, the British have a long history of frequent, but not too costly, conflicts. Especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the British Empire was in full swing, this commitment to the idea of warfare as a “cost of doing business” has been a key element of the British strategic mindset, and continues today. It bares many similarities to the role the US has played since the second World War, and explains in part the existence of the special relationship between the two nations.

Though very low historically, UK VDR had been rising modestly since 1970. This trend has been reversed however as of 2004

Though the British military has been involved in plenty of action in the modern age, the casualties have not been very high. The only significant contribution to violent death rates (in terms of military losses) was in 1982, during the Falklands Island War. To put it in perspective, United States losses in Iraq or Afghanistan have yet to reach that military death rate level (2007 was worst year @ .29/100,000). So although only lasting briefly, the Falklands War was no trip to Red Lobster.

UK and United States Comparisons

Move over fish n’ chips… here comes the cheeseburger. Here are the populations of Great Britain and The United States since the colonies split away. To be fair, this British population doesn’t count Commonwealth nations, while the US made large territorial gains to the west through it’s history (contributing mightily to the disparity shown). The US officially passed the British population tally in 1848.

US and uk population growth comparisons

Next we take a look at the Violent Death Rates of the two nations during the 19th century. The US was young, and maintained a fairly high domestic manslaughter rate. While the UK was at the high point of it’s colonial empire, and though domestic manslaughter rates were low, almost constant military flair ups kept British violent deaths near that of the Americans.

The most turbulent period for the US was the Civil War. For the UK, the Napoleonic Wars (and the pesky conflicts with the Americans, Indians, Irish, and others), which made the first 20 years of the 1800’s quite perilous for a British soldier. Both nations settled into a relative calm in the 2nd half of the century… before the true “broo ha-ha” of the 1900’s.

Below are the homicide and execution rates of the 20th century, isolated from military casualty stats. Certainly the US has had a much higher rate than Britain during this period, no arguing that.

united kingdom usa homicide compared

Comparison of us and uk age groups

The United States is markedly younger than The United Kingdom. The “trouble maker” crowd in the 15-44 year old bracket is 44.2% of the population for the US, and 41.6% for the UK. This fact alone is probably worth around .5/100,000 additional violent deaths in the US. Note that the table above is pretty old data, I will update it in a year or two, as the new census info comes to light.