Unnatural deaths abroad: Top 10 countries where US travelers are killed

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If you’re thinking of taking a far-flung trip abroad this holiday season, you may want to consider some research first.

Every year American travelers die sudden, unnatural deaths abroad, and since 2002, these numbers have been made public on the US State Department’s website. In 2016, a total of 843 US citizens died from more than a dozen causes such as homicide, drowning and drug-related deaths.

Beyond just stoking the morbid fascination of American tourists, this data can prove helpful for travelers heading into countries with recent State Dept. travel warnings. It can even be used to pinpoint US deaths in certain cities or regions within countries.

So what was the number one cause of death for all Americans abroad last year? Unceremoniously, it was traffic accidents, which comprised 27 percent of all deaths. Terrorism, on the other hand, accounted for just under 2 percent of American deaths.

Mexico led all countries in 2016 with 264 American fatalities, a figure more than eight times greater than Thailand, which took second place with 32 deaths.

Mexico consistently ranks number one in American fatalities and is also the top country in the world for American travelers, drawing close to 39 percent of all American travelers last year while contributing to about one third of the total US deaths abroad.

Canada, by contrast, drew 17 percent of all US tourism in 2016 but only accounted for 1.3 percent of all deaths, according to the State Department.

Mexico also led all countries with 75 homicides, while Jamaica and the Philippines tied for second place with 8 homicides apiece.

In terms of terrorism, a total of 15 Americans died in terrorist actions last year, the majority coming in Belgium and France. Only four Americans died in armed conflicts, all in Syria.

Other countries that made the top 10 include Australia, Germany, China and Costa Rica.

Other notables from the data:

– Cambodia continued to lead the world in the rate of drug-related deaths among US citizens.

– A total of 15 percent of deaths last year were classified as “other” or “unknown.”

-More Americans died of drowning than homicides (156 drownings vs 144 homicides)

– The two least common causes of death were disaster (2 deaths) and air accidents (5 deaths).

– The total does not include health and illness-related deaths such as disease, heart attack or stroke.

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