By the numbers: Syria deaths

Story highlights

  • U.N. estimate: Syria's civil war claimed nearly 70,000 lives in just less than two years
  • On average, that comes out to 3,043 deaths a month and 0.311% of the total population
  • How do Syria's statistics compare with some past civil wars in history?

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in Syria since unrest began in the country two years ago, according to the latest estimate from the United Nations.

And that might actually be an underestimate. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Syria's raging civil war has made it "increasingly challenging" to collect accurate and reliable data.

Opposition: March was deadliest month in Syrian civil war

But even if that number is on the low side, it does provide a way to put Syria's conflict in historical context.

Take a look at Syria's statistics below and see how they compare with statistics from another recent civil war (Libya), civil wars in countries of similar size (Yugoslavia in the 1990s and Spain in the 1930s) and even the Civil War in the United States.

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Ongoing since March 2011 (2 years)

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70,000: The estimated death toll as of mid-February, according to the United Nations Human Rights Center

22,530,746: Syria's estimated population in July 2012, according to the CIA World Factbook

0.311: Approximate percentage of the Syrian population killed so far

(For comparison's sake, 0.311% of the population would be 976,066 people for the United States, 196,077 people for the United Kingdom and 4,177,476 people for China, the world's most populous country.)

3,043: Average number of deaths per month

Libyan civil war
February 2011-October 2011 (8 months)

30,000: Estimated death toll, according to Libya's transitional government

6,461,454: Libya's estimated population in 2011, according to the CIA World Factbook

0.464: Approximate percentage of the Libyan population killed during the civil war

3,750: Average number of deaths per month

Yugoslav war
March 1991-November 1995 (4 years, 7 months)
February 1998-June 1999 (1 year, 4 months)

140,000: Estimated dead, according to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

23,976,040: Yugoslavia's approximate population in July 1991, according to the CIA World Factbook

0.584: Approximate percentage of the Yugoslavian population killed during the wars (using 1991 population)

1,972: Average number of deaths per month

Spanish Civil War
July 1936-April 1939 (2 years, 9 months)

500,000: Estimated death toll by many sources

24,849,298: Population at the end of 1935, according to the National Statistics Institute of Spain

2.012: Approximate percentage of the Spanish population killed

15,152: Average number of deaths per month

U.S. Civil War
April 1861-May 1865 (4 years, 1 month)

618,222: Estimated death toll for more than a century

31,443,321: U.S. population in 1860, the most recent census before the war

1.966: Approximate percentage of the U.S. population killed during the war

12,617: Average number of deaths per month