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 1:1, here are the lifetime odds of death for selected causes, from most likely to least:

Cause of DeathOdds of Dying
Heart Disease and Cancer1:7
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease1:28
Intentional Self-harm1:100
Unintentional Poisoning By and Exposure to Noxious Substances1:109
Motor Vehicle Crash1:112
Assault by Firearm1:358
Pedestrian Incident1:704
Motorcycle Rider Incident1:911
Unintentional Drowning and Submersion1:1,113
Exposure to Fire, Flames or Smoke1:1,442
Choking from Inhalation and Ingestion of Food1:3,375
Pedacyclist Incident1:4,535
Firearms Discharge1:6,699
Exposure to Excessive Natural Heat1:6,745
Cataclysmic Storm1:6,780
Air and Space Transport Incidents1:8,015
Exposure to Electric Current, Radiation, Temperature and Pressure1:12,220
Contact with Sharp Objects1:37,351
Contact with Hornets, Wasps and Bees1:55,764
Contact with Heat and Hot Substances1:59,093
Legal Execution1:127,717
Being Bitten or Struck by a Dog1:116,448
Lightning Strike1:164,968

Source: National Safety Council estimates based on data from National Center for Health Statistics–Mortality Data for 2011, 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 10th revision 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® 2015 Edition, pages 40-43.