This Is How You’re Most Likely to Die During Each Decade of Your Life

Some people are obsessed with the thought of how they’ll die, while others would rather remain in the dark on the subject of their death. While death is highly unpredictable, statisticians have created forecasts of how likely a person is to die based on their age — and what they’re likely to die from.

Read on to find out how you’re most likely to die during each decade of your life.

The data

Side view of sick woman having coffee

A researcher compared the ways people died and their ages at the time. |

UCLA statistician Nathan Yau used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to plot the correlation between the most common ways people die and their age at death. The research shows what you’re statistically most likely to die from based on your age, gender, and race in each decade of your life. For example, a white female baby born today is most likely to die of circulatory issues, such as a heart attack or stroke, if she dies in her 80s. And cancer is most likely to be the cause of death for black woman in her early 2os if she dies in her late 40s or early 50s.

Next: The test’s general findings

20s and 30s

Accident And Emergency Figures Show Worst Performance

Chances are you’ll die from an external cause. | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: External causes

External causes — classified under the three main categories: suicide, homicide, and accidents — are the largest killer of people in their 20s and 30s. The Auto Insurance Center’s analysis of 2013 fatal car crashes revealed that failure to stay in the right lane and failure to yield the right of way were the two leading causes of fatal accidents.

Next: Two diseases have higher potential to affect you in your 40s.


3D render depicting the internal organs

There’s a split between your early and late 40s. |

  • Cause of death (early 40s): External causes
  • Cause of death (mid- to late 40s): Circulatory issues and cancer

While external causes are the leading killer for those in their early 40s, by 45 you’re also likely to die from circulatory issues or cancer. Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease, are considered premature in your 40s, according to Harvard Medical School. Still, about 4% to 10% of all heart attacks occur before age 45. Cancer Research UK showed adults ages 25 to 49 make up 10% of cancer cases. And twice as many women as men likely to develop the disease in that age group.

Next: How you’re most likely to die in your 50s


Xray of heart pump and pacemaker

A pacemaker may not be out of the question. | JFsPic/iStock/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: Circulatory problems

Circulatory problems, such as heart disease and stroke, are the most likely cause of death for both men and woman in their 50s. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for 1 in 4 deaths per year, according to the CDC. And strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the country.

Next: There are preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk in your 60s.


Scientist pipetting growth medium in petri dishes

This is the age when cancer becomes most prevalent. | Rusnac

  • Cause of death (men): Cancer
  • Cause of death (women): Cancer and circulatory issues

Men are most likely to die of cancer in their 60s, while women are about equally as likely to die from cancer as they are circulatory issues. An AARP analysis of health habits for Americans in their 60s showed some common practices might be detrimental to health and increase the risk of disease. For example, 1 in 7 women and 1 in 4 men in their 60s still drink to excess on occasion, which can double your risk of congestive heart failure.

Next: Your risk of acquiring rarer cancers is higher in your 70s.


Cancer becomes a very real thing. | Chris Hondros/Getty Images

  • Cause of death: Cancer

Many adults in their 70s develop cancer as a consequence of harmful actions, such as smoking, unsafe sun exposure, or excessive alcohol and drug use. However, cancer as a result of age and gender reaches its peak in your 70s.

Men are at risk of prostate, colon, and lung cancer, while women in their 70s are at risk of breast, colon, and lung cancer. Several “relatively rare” cancers become more common in your 70s, including throat, esophagus, kidney, and pancreatic cancers, according to Vibrant Life.

Next: How you’re most likely to die in your 80s surprised the researcher.


hands showing red heart

Your heart and its function may be in danger. |

  • Cause of death: Circulatory issues

The research reveals that the older people get, the more likely they are to die from a circulatory problem, regardless of their demographic. People 80 years and older have at least a 40% chance of dying from a circulatory issue.

This surprised me, because it seems like cancer would be the leading cause just going off general news,” statistician Nathan Yau said. “This is certainly true up to a certain age, but get past that and your heart can only keep going for so long.”

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