July 03, 2008

The Odds of Dying from. . . .

I was doing some research for an article on air safety on my flying blog when I came across the National Safety Council web site.

This is an absolutely fantastic site, because they have collated and published statistics on deaths from the United States classified according to some methodology they have created. For each method of death they have given a number of people who have died this year from that cause, the odds of dying from that cause this year and the life-time odds of dying from that cause for a person born in 2004. (Data are only available currently up to 2004)

It makes interesting reading:

Did you know for instance that there were 167,184 deaths from external causes in the US, 112,012 of which are classified as accidental (the remaining are Intentional self-harm, assault and 'of undetermined origin')? The largest number is for transport accidents (47,385) of which 44,933 were motor vehicles.

The big picture numbers are pretty much as you would expect. I was drawn, though, to the smaller, individual numbers. For example:

  • 1 person was killed on a streetcar (odds are 1 in 293,656,842)
  • 13 people were killed in 3 wheeled vehicles (odds are 1 in 22,588,988)
  • 2 people died as a result of fireworks discharge (odds are 1 in 46,828,421)
  • 32 people died as a result of "Foreign body entering through skin or natural orifice" (odds are 1 in 9,176,776
  • 5 people died as a result of being "Bitten or stung by nonvenomous insect and other arthropods" (odds are 1 in 58,731,368 (Luckily in this year, no-one was recorded as having died as a result of being "Bitten or crushed by other reptiles")
  • 16 people were killed because they were "Confined to or trapped in a low-oxygen environment" (odds are 1 in 8,353,553)
  • 9 were killed as a result of "High and low air pressure and changes in air pressure" (odds are 1 in 32,628,538)
  • 52 were killed by legal execution (odds are 1 in 5,647,247)
  • and my personal favourite (purely because they decided to have a separate classification for it)
  • 7 people died as a result of "Ignition or melting of nightwear" (odds are 1 in 41,950,977)
So what that means is that the number of people the US courts has killed legally this year is a little less than double the number who died because a foreign body entered through their skin or natural orifice.

I can't decide whether that's good or bad...

Technorati Tags: ,

0 comments (See Policy http://tinyurl.com/5qgr5x):

Post a Comment