Geneva: The United States leads the world in economic loss from deaths caused by armed crime, according to a global survey released on Friday.

The US registered an estimated loss of up to $45.1 billion (Dh165.7 billion) in terms of economic productivity because of violent crimes, said the report by the UN Development Program and the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey.

At least 490,000 people are killed in armed crimes each year worldwide, placing a huge economic cost and social burden on many nations, the report said.

The report said that Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica and South Africa are among the countries with the highest numbers of recorded violent crimes in the world.

More people are killed worldwide in violent crimes every year than in wars, it said.

'Lost product'

In the 90 countries surveyed, the economic cost from people killed by arms each year is estimated to total between $95 billion (Dh349 billion) and $163 billion (Dh599 billion), according to the report.

"These estimates are based on calculations of the 'lost product' that is represented by premature deaths from armed violence," said Achim Wennmann of the Small Arms Survey.

"These people - had they lived - would have contributed as any other individual as productive members of society."

The cost arising from these deaths includes expenses from medical care, legal proceedings, and lost earnings to lost investment.