According to estimates by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), around 3,100 people have died in connection with heat so far this year. This emerges from the institute's latest weekly report on heat deaths (data as of September 17, 2023). The number varies greatly from year to year, depending on the severity of the heat period.
Next week, the institute will publish the last weekly report for 2023, which deals with heat-related mortality, an RKI spokeswoman told the “Rheinische Post” (Saturday). There will then probably be a summary balance sheet for the summer of 2023 in the fall.
According to the weekly report, the largest proportion of heat deaths occur in age groups aged 75 and over. Overall, in absolute terms, more women than men die in connection with heat. However, this can be attributed to the high proportion of women in the older age groups.
According to the RKI, the estimated number of heat-related deaths in Germany was over 6,000 people in 2018, 2019 and 2015. In 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2021 there were between around 1,000 and around 1,700 heat deaths.
The RKI points out that in most cases the combination of heat and existing illnesses leads to death. "Therefore, heat is not typically listed on the death certificate as the underlying cause of death." Instead, the RKI estimates the extent of heat-related deaths using statistical methods that incorporate air temperature and death data.