Morbid Math Report
By Steve Gillman - July 11, 2013
About a thousand people will die by the time you finish reading
Now that you can easily find almost any statistical measures
you want online, it is possible to do all sorts of quick math
in order to look at life and death in new ways. Of course, sometimes
those new ways do not provide the most pleasant perspectives.
It can be an entertaining pastime, however, so here we go. I
have put together the following examples of morbid math.
About 55 million people die annually, which is an average
of about 150,600 deaths daily. Now, if the distribution of deaths
is relatively uniform, that means that there are about 150,600
deaths on any given date. About a third of the people in the
world are married, and that percentage is likely to be about
the same for those who die on any given day. Therefore, if we
divide 150,600 by the 3, we get around 50,200 married people
dying each day. Divide that number by the 365 days in a year
and we arrive at 137. That, if you are following the math, is
the number of people who lose their spouse on their anniversary
-- each day. Yes, 137 times daily we have the tragic irony of
a husband losing his wife or a wife her husband on the date that
they were married.
Of course, every one of the 150,600 people who die each day
also have a birth date. That means that every day over 400 people
die on the same date on which they were born. Oh, and when it
is your birthday this year, remember that 150,600 people will
die that day as well. Happy birthday! Or should we say happy
A Crappy Way to Die
Sometimes we just have to guess at the basic data. For example,
I could not find statistics online for how much time a person
spends sitting on the toilet, but I can guess that it is around
ten minutes daily (perhaps I'm underestimating the constipation
of humanity, but I'll use this figure until I discover new data).
Now, we can divide those 150,600 daily deaths by 144, since there
are that many 10-minute periods in a day, and arrive at a figure
of 1,041 people dying each day while sitting on the toilet (or
while using whatever substitutes there are for a toilet in some
parts of the world).
Of course that assumes a fairly random and therefore uniform
distribution of deaths throughout the day. Probably death is
more likely while awake than while sleeping. Also, the figure
is likely to be higher when we consider that the straining involved
can cause heart attacks. We'll round our guess off at about 1,200
people per day dying while pooping, which means one has likely
died on top of his own excrement in the time it has taken you
to read this far.
A Better Way to Die?
People sometimes say that dying during sex is a better way
to go, but it might be something of a buzzkill for the surviving
partner. It's not easy to find good statistics on how many people
die during sexual intercourse. To the extent that such statistics
exist the numbers seem likely to be understated due to the embarrassment
of the other party. In other words, you might not get that "Died
While Doing It" epitaph if she pushes you off and throws
some clothes on you before the police arrive.
The statistics I did find on this topic suggest that it is
mostly men who die during sex. The estimate is that between 82%
and 93% are male. Another interesting statistic is that 75% of
those men who die while having intercourse are having it with
someone other than their wives, and usually with a younger partner.
Dying in an unfamiliar location and after eating and drinking
too much are also common factors. Safe sex in this context seems
to be staying home with the wife (and perhaps not marrying women
that are twenty years younger).
Societal Revenge Killings
Around 6 to 9 people are killed for their crimes each day
in the world. The United States is one of the few large countries
that still do this, along with Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia
and Afghanistan (and a few dozen others). China is the biggest
killer of criminals. Although nothing but rough estimates exist
because of the communist government's refusal to release data,
it is suspected that the Chinese kill many more prisoners than
the total of 1,700 annual death penalty executions carried out
by all the other countries put together. In other words, each
Sunday while good Christians sit through a two-and-a-half-hour
church service to learn about forgiveness, turning the other
cheek and why they should not kill others, another person is
executed for the "good of society."
That is our morbid math report for today.