It’s a morbidly curious question: how will I die? And when?
Nathan Yau, writing for FlowingData, has come up with a way to predict answers to these questions, based on your race, age, and sex.
Yau’s simulation is based on the CDC’s Underlying Cause of Death database, which shows data for how people in the United States died between 1999 and 2014. The CDC bases its records on death certificates, which show a single cause of death.
These causes of death fit into a bunch of categories published by the World Health Organisation, called the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD).
In other words, Yau’s simulation looks at how and when other people like you have died, and uses that in a predictive way to show you the most likely cause of your own death.
When you enter your race, age, and sex in Yau’s simulation, you’re shown a series of dots. As the simulation runs its course, it shows you getting older and older.
The simulation is animated and shows you different probabilities from your current age up through age 100, so you can see an age next to what percentage of people have died by the time they reach that age. It’s sort of creepy to watch.
You can also see how causes of death fluctuate from age to age; when you’re younger, you’re more likely to die because of external factors. When you’re older, it’s more likely something internal.
When I entered in some information about myself, the simulator ran and here’s what showed up at the very end.
So, according to data from WHO and the CDC about white, female 23 year olds, I’m far more likely to die of circulatory problems or cancer than anything else.
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