Until the mid-1990s, gastric cancer has been the first cause of cancer death worldwide, although rates had been declining for several decades and gastric cancer has become a relatively rare cancer in North America and in most Northern and Western Europe, but not in Eastern Europe, Russia and selected areas of Central and South America or East Asia. We analyzed gastric cancer mortality in Europe and other areas of the world from 1980 to 2005 using joinpoint regression analysis, and provided updated site-specific incidence rates from 51 selected registries. Over the last decade, the annual percent change (APC) in mortality rate was around -3, -4% for the major European countries. The APC were similar for the Republic of Korea (APC = -4.3%), Australia (-3.7%), the USA (-3.6%), Japan (-3.5%), Ukraine (-3%) and the Russian Federation (-2.8%). In Latin America, the decline was less marked, but constant with APC around -1.6% in Chile and Brazil, -2.3% in Argentina and Mexico and -2.6% in Colombia. Cancers in the fundus and pylorus are more common in high incidence and mortality areas and have been declining more than cardia gastric cancer. Steady downward trends persist in gastric cancer mortality worldwide even in middle aged population, and hence further appreciable declines are likely in the near future.