Experience

Odds of Dying From Specific Causes in U.S. Known


What are your odds of dying from a specific cause? 

Knowing the odds is the first step in beating them. However, not all risks faced in life can be accurately estimated. Here’s those odds according to the National Safety Council and Centers for Disease Control:

Heart disease: 1 in 6
Cancer: 1 in 7
Smoking-related: 1 in 9
Chronic respiratory disease: 1 in 26
Stroke: 1 in 28
Obesity-related: 1 in 35
Heavy drinking: 1 in 49
Suicide: 1 in 86
Breast cancer: 1 in 95
Opioid Overdose: 1 in 98

Prostate cancer: 1 in 133
Fall: 1 in 117
Assault: 1 in 211
Brain tumor: 1 in 298
Car accident: 1 in 106
Skin cancer: 1 in 457
Pedestrian accident: 1 in 541
Motorcycle accident: 1 in 890
Drowning: 1 in 1,121
Chocking on food: 1 in 2,618

Bicycle accident: 1 in 4,060
Airplane accident: 1 in 7,032
Sunstroke: 1 in 7,770
Flu: 1 in 9,410
Hornet, wasp, bee stings: 1 in 53,989
Lightning: 1 in 188,746
Legal execution: 1 in 96,691
Dog Attack: 118,776
Earthquake: 1 in 148,756
Fireworks discharge: 1 in 386,766

The rates are calculated using the cause of death listed on U.S. death certificates.


Lifetime odds are calculated by dividing the population by the number of deaths (creating one-year odds of death), and then, dividing that figure by the life expectancy of a person born today (77.9 years).

It’s notable that between 1903 and 1932, deaths were most prevalent among adults ages 25-44.

Beginning in the 1930s through the mid-1960s, deaths among older adults were dominant.

By the late 1960s through the 1970s, there was a significant increase in deaths among adolescents and young adults 15-24 years of age due to a rise in motor-vehicle crashes among young drivers.

Poisoning deaths began to significantly contribute to the increase in fatalities among 25- to 44-year-olds in the 1980s and among 45- to 64-year-olds starting in the 1990s. This increase was largely driven by opioid drugs.

The 1990s also saw an increase in deaths of adults 75 and older, reflecting an increase in fall-related deaths.

These trends continue to the present day. The current age distribution of deaths is dominated by the middle-age population, ages 25-64, driven by the opioid epidemic.


Among adults 75 and older, deaths are driven by falls.

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