Friday, October 29, 2010

Leading Causes of "The End"

Well it is nearly All Hallows Eve and I have been working on a fairly dark section of my current book project, so I thought today I might ponder a bit about death. Specifically, what are the leading causes of death worldwide and then some specifics about death in the United States.

The best numbers on death worldwide come from the World Health Organization. They divide their data into low, medium and high income countries because the standard of living equates to better or worse access to health care. For that reason malaria appears in the low-income data but not middle or high-income nations. On the other side of the dark coin, Alzheimer's related deaths appear only in the high-income countries. A comprehensive global comparison would run far beyond the scope of a single blog post. So I focused on the U.S. numbers.

Divide the population into 10 segments by age:

First a couple of questions and then a big hint if you need one.

Question 1: Five age groups (1-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-24, 25-34) share the same most common cause of death, what is it?
Question 2: What is the most common causes of death overall, it appears in the top ten of every category except infants under one year of age?

Here is your hint, which will answer question #2 and help you on question #1.

Top Ten Most Common Causes of Death in the U.S.
1. Heart Disease 616K
2. Malignant Neoplasms 562K
3. Cerebro-vascular 135K
4. Chronic Low Respiratory Disease 127K
5. Unintentional Injury 123K
6. Alzheimer's Disease 74K
7. Diabetes Melitus 71K
8. Influenza & Pneumonia 52K
9. Nepritis 46K
10. Septicemia 34K

Heart Disease remains the number #1 killer in the U.S. and from that list you probably also figured out that Unintentional Accident tops the list for those over 1 and under 45. And yes a big portion of that number is automobile accidents. Two more questions.

3. What cause of death not in the top ten ranks 2nd for 15-24 year olds, 3rd for 1-4, 10-14 & 25-34, 4th in the 5-9 age group and 6th among 35-44 year olds?
4. What cause of death also not in the top ten ranks 2nd for 25-34 years old, 3rd for 15-24, 4th for 10-14 & 35-44 and 5th for 45-54 and even 8th among 55-64 year olds?

Just a couple of other facts before I answer those two questions. Clearly the 65+ group has the highest numbers in all categories of the top ten. Deaths of those 65 and older account for nearly 70% of the total nationwide. This 70% of deaths number would be 80%+ if the answers to questions 3 & 4 did not exist.

Answer to question #3: Homicide
Answer to question #4: Suicide

If you would like to see this data as a graph.

1 comment:

The Shrink said...

A reader asked where suicide and homicide rank on the overall list, if not in the top ten.

Suicide 11th
Homicide 14th