Odds of Dying

Your odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose continue to be greater than dying in a motor-vehicle crash


Fear is natural and healthy. It can help us respond to danger more quickly or avoid a dangerous situation altogether. It can also cause us to worry about the wrong things, especially when it comes to estimating our level of risk.

If we overestimate our risk in one area, it can lead to anxiety and interfere with carrying out our normal daily routine. Ironically, it also leads us to underestimate real risks that can injure or kill us.

It can be difficult to accurately assess the biggest risks we face. Plane crashes, being struck by lightning, or being attacked by a dog are common fears, but what about falls, the danger inside a bottle of pills, or your drive to work?

Knowing the odds is the first step in beating them. But, not all risks faced in life can be accurately estimated. Many people would like to know their odds of dying in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the infographic to understand why odds of dying estimates are not yet available. To explore current COVID-19 case and fatality trends in the United States please visit the COVID-19 page.



View the video for the latest odds of dying estimates. Also provided is a summary table of some of the top causes of death. Please use the data details tab to explore all the odds of dying estimates.

Lifetime odds of death for selected causes, United States, 2019
Cause of Death Odds of Dying
Heart disease 1 in 6
Cancer 1 in 7
All preventable causes of death 1 in 24
Chronic lower respiratory disease 1 in 27
Suicide 1 in 88
Opioid overdose 1 in 92
Fall 1 in 106
Motor-vehicle crash 1 in 107
Gun assault 1 in 289
Pedestrian incident 1 in 543
Motorcyclist 1 in 899
Drowning 1 in 1,128
Fire or smoke 1 in 1,547
Choking on food 1 in 2,535
Bicyclist 1 in 3,825
Sunstroke 1 in 8,248
Accidental gun discharge 1 in 8,571
Electrocution, radiation, extreme temperatures, and pressure 1 in 13,394
Sharp objects 1 in 29,334
Cataclysmic storm 1 in 58,669
Hornet, wasp, and bee stings 1 in 59,507
Hot surfaces and substances 1 in 63,113
Dog attack 1 in 86,781
Lightning 1 in 138,849
Railway passenger Too few deaths in 2019 to calculate odds
Passenger on an airplane Too few deaths in 2019 to calculate odds

Source: National Safety Council estimates based on data from National Center for Health Statistics—Mortality Data for 2019, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program.  Population and life expectancy data are from the U.S. Census Bureau. Deaths are classified on the basis of the 10th Revision of the World Health Organization’s “The International Classification of Diseases” (ICD). Numbers following titles refer to External Cause of Morbidity and Mortality classifications in ICD-10.

See data details