What are the odds of dying of …?

“How will I die?” Most of us have contemplated this sobering question at one point or another. How can a person even begin to answer such a question?

In truth, no one can know with absolute certainty what his or her cause of death will be, but thanks to existing data, we can get a better idea of which causes of death would be more or less likely. In addition to examining lifestyle, current health status and genetics, it is useful to take a look at the chances of dying of various causes. What are odds of dying of heart disease? What are the odds of dying of cancer? Diabetes? Parkinson’s disease? What are the odds of dying in an accident? Here are the lifetime odds of dying of each of the 15 most common causes of death in the United States. The odds have been calculated based on 2011 U.S. data concerning deaths, death rates, leading causes of death and life expectancy, reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

What are the odds of dying of…?

RankCause of deathLifetime Odds
1Diseases of the Heart1 in 7
2Malignant neoplasms (cancer)1 in 7
3Chronic lower respiratory disease1 in 28
4Cerebrovascular diseases1 in 31
5Accidents (unintentional injuries)1 in 32
6Alzheimer’s disease1 in 47
7Diabetes mellitus1 in 54
8Influenza and pneumonia1 in 74
9Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis1 in 86
10Intentional self-harm (suicide)1 in 103
11Septicemia1 in 111
12Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis1 in 118
13Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease1 in 144
14Parkinson’s disease1 in 172
15Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids1 in 219