Odds of Death: A Numbers Game

A dead body with a name tag
Thousands of people die daily. Death is believed to be a number game because statistics show that the odds of dying depend solely on the cause of death. Darrin Klimek / Getty Images

Death is nothing new in our society. Thousands of people die daily, all over the world. But with the introduction of new technology and new diseases, people are dying in ways never before seen.

But what percentage of people die from old age? How many die in freak accidents? What diseases take the most lives? Below are some of the statistics for some common and not so common ways to die. Learn what your chances are for surviving an earthquake, a car accident or even a bee sting.


Statistics are provided by the National Safety Council© Injury Facts© 2011. These are lifetime odds of death for selected causes. For a full list of statistics on common causes of death, please visit the National Safety Council.

Heart disease: 1 in 6

Cancer: 1 in 7

Stroke: 1 in 28

Accidental poisoning by toxic substances: 1 in 130

Falls: 1 in 171

Car accident: 1 in 303

Assault by firearms: 1 in 306

Motorcycle accident: 1 in 770

Accidental drowning: 1 in 1,123

Exposure to smoke/fire: 1 in 1,177

Cycling: 1 in 4,717

Firearms discharge: 1 in 6,309

Air and space transport accidents: 1 in 7,032

Exposure to electric current, radiation, temperature or pressure: 1 in 9,943

Exposure to excessive natural heat: 1 in 12,517

Cataclysmic storm: 1 in 46,044

Contact with hornets, wasps and bees: 1 in 71,623

Lightning: 1 in 84,079

Bitten/attacked by dog: 1 in 120,864

Earthquake: 1 in 148,756

Flood: 1 in 175,803

Fireworks discharge: 1 in 386,766