# Statistical probability of death

How would I find a table that lists every probable cause of death with a higher probability than being killed in a terrorist attack?

http://www.nsc.org/lrs/statinfo/odds.htm

(Terrorism is code U01.)

This is tough, because it depends on what kind of guy or gal you are. When people say something like “you have a better chance of being killed by a bee than a shark” they might be right for the average person. But most people don’t spend much time in the ocean. That doesn’t tell the average surfer what animal is more likely to do him in.

Similarly, people might say you are more likely to be hurt from street crime than terrorism in a place, like say, Cairo. But I am a poor choice for street crime. I am a large young male who looks like he knows what he’s doing and doesn’t look wealthy. However, I am an excellent target for terrorism, as I’m told I look pretty American.

Crime is still more likely, but individual mileage will vary.

I remember reading a book that said, amongst many other “interesting statistics”, that everybody has a 99% chance of surviving for another year.

I can’t recall if that includes those known to be terminally ill.

I am not sure how to read this. The terrorism part of the table above doesn’t seem very clearly defined.

T Square, I’ll settle for average. I don’t work in an embassy.

That sounds like nonsense to me. According to the Australian Life Tables 1995-97 (the most recent ones I have to hand) age-specific population mortality rates first reach 1% at about age 60 for males and about age 66 for females. Even allowing for improvements in population mortality since 1995-97, you’d still be looking at a situation where every member of the population above, say, age 70 has a less than 99% probability of surviving for another year.

I think the 99% thing is garbled rather than flat-out wrong. SD column is here

Note that this only covers causes of accidental death, not death from disease or illness.

mswas, these figures on deaths by terrorism during the year 2003 can help to flesh out the above chart.

Note that in determining the “risk of dying by terrorism”, you must determine whether you are talking about American citizens or people within the United States. Thirty-five American citizens were killed by terrorists during 2003, but all of them were overseas at the time of the attack. For an American citizen who remained within the United States, the risk of death by terrorism during the year 2003 alone was exactly zero.

Of course, if you were to choose a longer baseline–in particular, any baseline which includes 9/11/2001–you would have a nonzero risk, albeit still very small relative to other causes of death.