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

Lifetime odds of death for selected causes, United States, 2020
Cause of Death Odds of Dying
Heart disease 1 in 6
Cancer 1 in 7
COVID-19 1 in 12
All preventable causes of death 1 in 21
Chronic lower respiratory disease 1 in 28
Opioid overdose 1 in 67
Suicide 1 in 93
Motor-vehicle crash 1 in 101
Fall 1 in 102
Gun assault 1 in 221
Pedestrian incident 1 in 541
Motorcyclist 1 in 799
Drowning 1 in 1,024
Fire or smoke 1 in 1,450
Choking on food 1 in 2,745
Bicyclist 1 in 3,396
Sunstroke 1 in 6,368
Accidental gun discharge 1 in 7,998
Electrocution, radiation, extreme temperatures, and pressure 1 in 14,705
Sharp objects 1 in 26,744
Cataclysmic storm 1 in 35,074
Hot surfaces and substances 1 in 50,341
Hornet, wasp, and bee stings 1 in 57,825
Dog attack 1 in 69,016
Lightning Too few deaths in 2020 to calculate odds
Railway passenger Too few deaths in 2020 to calculate odds
Passenger on an airplane Too few deaths in 2020 to calculate odds

Source: National Safety Council estimates based on data from National Center for Health Statistics—Mortality Data for 2020, 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