The 20 Ways You Are Most Likely To Die In America

Do you ever wonder how you are going to die? In a tornado?In a car accident?Or while you are scuba diving in the Caribbean? Well, you are not alone as many of us often wonder the exact same thing.

Contact with machinery 

Odds of dying: 1 in 5,189

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, types of machinery likely to cause injury or death include heating, cooling and cleaning, construction, logging, mining, and special materials machinery.

Choking on food 

Odds of dying: 1 in 4,404

1 in 4,404 people will die via asphyxiation from choking on food.

Fall involving bed, chair or other furniture 

Odds of dying: 1 in 4,238

Falls are the leading cause of death among people over the age of 65. A person is far more likely to die falling out of bed, a chair or other furniture at home than traveling on a railway, where the odds are 1 in 225,879.

Bicycle accident

Odds of dying: 1 in 4,147I 2009, 630 bicyclists were killed, and a whopping 51,000 were injured in accidents. Most of these deaths occurred in urban areas, where there are more cars and traffic congestion. The number one thing you can do to reduce your risk? Wear a helmet!

ATV or off-road vehicle accident 

Odds of dying: 1 in 3,579

In 2009, there were 376 reported ATV-related deaths and 131,900 emergency room visits. This is a steady decline from 2008, where there were 616 reported deaths and 135,100 emergency room visits.

Complications of medical and surgicalcare

Odds of dying: 1 in 1,523

According to the National Hospital Discharge Survey, 45 million surgeries were performed in 2007, so it’s a good thing that only 1 in 1,523 people will die from medical or surgical complications. You are more than twice as likely to die from complications of medical and surgical care than in an ATV or off-road vehicle accident; the largest gap in odds on this list.

Exposure to smoke, fire and flames

Odds of dying: 1 in 1,235

In a burning house or building, you are actually more likely to die from smoke inhalation than burning from flames or heat. People have about three minutes to get out of a burning structure before dying from smoke inhalation.

Accidental drowning and submersion 

Odds of dying: 1 in 1,073

In the U.S., there were 3,443 fatal unintentional drownings in 2007. Males were 3.7 times more likely to die from drowning than females, because they are more likely to engage in reckless behavior. Children under the age of 14 accounted for one-fifth of these deaths from drowning.

Motorcycle accident 

Odds of dying: 1 in 802

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that 4,762 motorcycle deaths occurred in 2009, a 10 percent decline from 2008.

Pedestrian accident

Odds of dying: 1 in 623

Statistically, you are actually better off riding a motorcycle than walking on a busy street. The three U.S. cities with the most pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents every year are Atlanta, Ga., with 10.97, Detroit, Mich., with 10.31 and Los Angeles, Calif., with 7.64. Pedestrian fatalities are more likely to occur in large cities with heavy traffic.

Assault by firearm 

Odds of dying: 1 in 300

According to FBI crime statistics, there were 9,146 murders by firearm in 2009. Like death by accidental gun discharge, death rates for assault by firearm in the U.S. are also disproportionate to similar countries.

Exposure to narcotics and hallucinogens 

Odds of dying: 1 in 289

Prescription opioid painkillers likeOxycontin and Percocet are now the most dangerous narcotics in America. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the University of North Carolina and Duke University Medical Center report that in 2007, there were more unintentional deaths from prescription opioid pain killers than overdosedeaths from heroinand cocaine combined.

Car accident 

Odds of dying: 1 in 272

Car accidents are a major area of concern in the U.S. and teenage drivers are at the root of the problem. In 2009, the CDC reported that 3,000 teens ages 15 to 19 were killed in automobile accidents and 350,000 were treated in emergency rooms because of car accidents. While young people ages 15 to 24 comprise 14 percent of the population, they account for 30 percent of car accidents.


Odds of dying: 1 in 184

In 2008, 22,631 Americans died from unintentional falls, which equates to 7.5 people per 100,000.

Accidental poisoning and drug overdose

Odds of dying: 1 in 139

There were 29,846 deaths from unintentional poisoning in 2007 and 40,059 poisoning deaths total. Ninety-seven percent of these deaths are caused by drug overdoses.  Not surprisingly, of all the accidental poisoning deaths from drug overdoses, narcotics (#9 on the list) were the most common inducers, and specifically opioids and benzodiazepenes(Valium) took the most lives.

Intentional self–harm

Odds of dying: 1 in 115

A person died from committing suicide every 15 minutes in the U.S. in 2007, the most recent year for which data was available. Ninety percent of people who die by suicide have a psychiatric disorder at the time of their death. When attempted, a suicide is not statistically likely to be successful. An estimated 8 to 25 suicide attempts occur for every death. Four male suicides occur for every one female suicide, but three times as many females attempt suicide. The reason is that men choose more lethal methods, like hanging and shooting themselves, than women.

All types of land vehicle accidents 

Odds of dying: 1 in 85

This category is similar to car and ATV accidents; it simply combines death rates from ATV and off-road vehicle accidents (#16), motorcycle accidents (#12), car accidents (#8) and any other type of land vehicles, like tractors, tanks and go-karts. Americans are 1,800 times more likely to die in a land vehicle accident than an earthquake, where the odds are 1 in 153,597.


Odds of dying: 1 in 28

Sadly for Americans, there is a high statistical chance of dying from a stroke. Over 143,579 people die each year from stroke in the United States. Risk factors for suffering a stroke include high cholesterol, high blood pressure,being age 55 or older, being overweight, physical inactivity, binge drinking, drug use and cigarette smoking.


Odds of dying: 1 in 7

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S. Americans are four times more likely to die from cancer than stroke, the third entry on this list. There are many different types of cancer, and some are more likely to occur than others. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer was the most common and deadliest form of cancer in 2010, with 222,520 cases and 157,300 deaths.

Heart disease

Odds of dying: 1 in 6

Heart disease, which is slightly more likely to result in death than cancer, is the most common cause of death in America. However, the mortality rate for heart disease is decreasing. Between 1997 and 2007, deaths from heart disease fell 28 percent. During the same period, however, the number of heart procedures performed in hospitals rose 27 percent. This means that quality of care is improving, but our lifestyles are getting worse.

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