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What Are the Odds of Dying From...

It might seem a bit morbid, but human nature leads us to contemplate our demise. We sometimes wonder, "What are my odds of dying from..."?

Are you more likely to be killed in a car crash or shot to death by an assailant? Is it really that rare to be struck by lightning? Here at the National Safety Council, we get those questions a lot.

So, we put together the Odds of Dying chart below. (Here's another way to look at it.) Keep in mind these odds are statistical averages over the entire U.S. population and do not necessarily reflect the chances of death for a particular person from a particular external cause. Odds of dying are affected by an individual’s activities, occupation, and where he or she lives and drives, among other things.

That being said, if the odds of dying from all possible causes are 1 in 1, here are the lifetime odds of death for selected causes, from most likely to least:

Cause of DeathOdds of Dying
Heart Disease and Cancer1 in 7
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease1 in 28
Intentional Self-harm1 in 95
Unintentional Poisoning by and Exposure to Noxious Substances1 in 96
Motor Vehicle Crash1 in 114
Fall1 in 127
Assault by Firearm1 in 370
Car Occupant1 in 645
Pedestrian Incident1 in 647
Motorcycle Rider Incident1 in 985
Unintentional Drowning and Submersion1 in 1,188
Exposure to Fire, Flames or Smoke1 in 1,498
Choking from Inhalation and Ingestion of Food1 in 3,461
Pedacyclist Incident1 in 4,486
Firearms Discharge1 in 6,905
Air and Space Transport Incidents1 in 9,821
Exposure to Electric Current, Radiation, Temperature and Pressure1 in 15,212
Exposure to Excessive Natural Heat1 in 16,584
Contact with Sharp Objects1 in 38,174
Contact with Heat and Hot Substances1 in 56,992
Contact with Hornets, Wasps and Bees1 in 63,225
Cataclysmic Storm1 in 66,335
Being Bitten or Struck by a Dog1 in 112,400
Legal Execution1 in 119,012
Lightning Strike1 in 161,856
Source: National Safety Council estimates based on data from National Center for Health Statistics–Mortality Data, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Deaths are classified on the basis of the World Health Organization’s The International Classification of Diseases (ICD). For additional mortality figures, and estimated one-year and lifetime odds, see Injury Facts® 2017 Edition, pages 40-43.
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