Here’s How You’re Going To Die

Statistically, at least.

We’re all going to die, but exactly when and how is an open question. Statistically, the likelihood is that you’ll live to be at least 75. More than half of all deaths in the U.S. (about 40 million a year) are among people above that age. If you’re male, you have a 25% chance of dying of cancer. And, if you’re female, you have a 33% of it happening from a respiratory illness, and 6% chance of dying from a mental or behavioral illness.


Causes of death vary with age and demographic, as you can see from these lovely graphics. They plot data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Wonder database and show causes of death for any given age. For example, cancer is the cause of about 10% of deaths for people aged 20 but of about 40% of deaths for people aged 60.

all female

The interactive graphic was created by the Nathan Yau, the data visualization whizz behind the FlowingData web site. He notes the difference between men and women in deaths from “external causes”: 5% of women and 10% men overall. Among men in their late teens and twenties, external causes–auto accidents and the like–account for 80% of deaths.

Yau also includes causes of death among whites, blacks, Asians, and American Indian and native peoples. Have a play for yourself here.

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.