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What Are the Odds?

We all have to go at some point, but it’s surprising how little most of us know about the leading causes of human death. Freak accidents like shark attacks or plane crashes tend to get a lot of press, but your odds of dying in such a grisly fashion are far lower than you may imagine. Here are 10 little-known facts about death that might just change your perspective – and remind you why it’s so important to have life insurance!

  1. Every year, more people are killed by donkeys than plane crashes.
  2. You are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than a poisonous spider.
  3. The odds of dying in an earthquake are one in 148,756.
  4. Approximately 150 people a year are killed by falling coconuts.
  5. The animal responsible for the most human deaths worldwide is the mosquito, causing 1 million deaths per year.
  6. The odds of dying in a bathtub are one in a million.
  7. You are more likely to be killed by a vending machine than a shark.
  8. On average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year.
  9. The top five preventable causes of death worldwide are:
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure), which causes about 7.8 million deaths a year.
  • Smoking, which causes about 5 million deaths a year.
  • Malnutrition, which causes about 3.8 million deaths a year.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases, which cause about 3 million deaths a year.
  • Obesity and being overweight, which cause about 2.5 million deaths a year.
  1. The top two causes of death worldwide are heart disease and cancer. One out of every six people succumbs to heart disease (approximately 597,689 a year), while one out of every seven dies of cancer (approximately 574,743 a year).

For more strange and surprising facts about death, check out SelectQuote’s Killer Facts and Odds of Dying Infographic.
Mokdad AH, Marks JS, Stroup DF, Gerberding JL (March 2004). “Actual causes of death in the United States, 2000”. JAMA 291 (10):1238-45. doi:10.1001/jama.291.10.1238.
“A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care”. Journal of Patient Safety. Retrieved 2014-02-21
Flegal, K.M., B.I. Graubard, D.F. Williamson, and M.H. Gail. (2005) “Obesity”. Journal of the American Medical Association 293 (15):1861-1867.doi:10.1001/jama.293.15.1861.

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