2,513,171 people died in the United States in 2011.
To put that in context: The country’s population in 2011 was about 311,800,000. That’s 0.8% of all Americans alive that year.
Or, to put it another way: That’s 47,235 more people than died the year before.
Or, to put it another way: That’s almost twice the current population of Hawaii.
Or, to put it another way: That’s about four or five people every minute.
The 15 top causes killed 80% of them.
2,000,150 people, to be exact.
Death by “accident” can mean one of a few different things.
You were most likely to die if you lived in Mississippi and least likely to die if you lived in Hawaii.
There are two ways to compare states: by sheer number of deaths or by death rate. Death rate is the number of deaths per 100,000 people. For our purposes, it’s a much more valuable number to look at.
For example, more people live in California than any other state. So it makes sense that a lot of people (238,993) died in California in 2011. However, California’s death rate was only 634.1, comparatively lower than most other states.
The CDC uses something called age-adjusted death rates. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services explains this pretty well on their website:
“Age adjusting rates is a way to make fairer comparisons between groups with different age distributions. For example, a county having a higher percentage of elderly people may have a higher rate of death or hospitalization than a county with a younger population, merely because the elderly are more likely to die or be hospitalized. (The same distortion can happen when comparing races, genders, or time periods.) Age adjustment can make the different groups more comparable.”
OK. Now you’re ready to look at this map of age-adjusted death rates in the United States in 2011.
Or here it is in bar chart form, if that’s your thing.
* Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2011 [CDC]
* Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2010 [CDC]
* CDC Health Data Interactive
* Current USA Population [geography.about.com]
* Wolfram Alpha: 2 million people
* Wolfram Alpha: United States Death Rate
All of the images and the maps in this post were made by me. I’m new to playing with data and may have made an amateur mistake. If so, please let me know in comments or @realavivahr. Thanks!