February 07, 2005

Everyone Dies of Something

Approximate risk of dying during your lifetime in United States from...


Cause of DeathLifetime OddsDeaths per Year
Heart disease1-in-5700000
Cancer 1-in-7560000
Stroke 1-in-23160000
An accidental injury*1-in-35110000
Influenza and Pneumonia 1-in-5566000
Motor Vehicle Accident 1-in-10044000
Intentional self harm (Suicide)1-in-120 32000
Firearm** 1-in-120 30000
Assault 1-in-22017000
Fall** 1-in-22017000
Choking on own vomit*** 1-in-8800420
Drowning in bath tub1-in-11000 320
Hot tap-water1-in-6500057
Lightning1-in-8400044
Dog attack1-in-15000025
Venomous spiders1-in-7400005


Number of deaths are rounded. The lifetime risk is a back of the envelope calculation of risk of dying in 2002 times a lifespan of 77 years. The only exception is motor vehicle accidents which is multiyear.

*does not include medical mistakes. this risk is between 1-in-15 and 1-in-250 (10k to 250k deaths/year) depending on the source.

**includes suicide, murder, accident, and undetermined cause (suicide is top cause for firearms and accidental is top cause for falls)

**exact description is suffocation by stomach contents


Other interesting facts in the NCHS report (2002 data):

A man is about 6 times more likely to die from a firearm than a women.

The life expectance of blacks is 5.4 years lower than whites. Coincidentally, the life expectancy of men is 5.4 years less than women.

Table six in the NCHS report gives the future life expectance at any age. (I can expect approximately 60 more years.)

For all adult age groups, the death rate for married people is much lower than that for people who never married. (I guess married people really do live longer.)

The group with the lowest death rate is children between 5 and 14 years of age (15 in 100000).

The death rate for males is higher than females at all ages.


Sources (in order of precedence): Deaths: Final Data for 2002 Report at National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at CDC, National Safety Council (NSC) article, LiveScience article


Entry Type: random facts and stuff

Errata: I’m clearly an engineer, even my blog entries look like technical reports. Woe is me. ;-)

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