Wednesday, October 11, 2017

SearchResearch Challenge (10/11/17): How many people die each year in the US?

I don't mean to be macabre,

..but it's nearly both Halloween and the Día de los muertos. They're coming up fast during this time of the year.  Naturally, that makes me think about those souls that have passed on before us, and being a naturally inquisitive person, I wonder about how it is that people die... in general.  Do you know off-hand?  I don't.  

Before you answer that question, give it a thought:  What's your intuition about this?  In the US, what fraction of people die from car accidents?  It is as much as 10% of all deaths in a year?  15%?  Or is it as low as 2%?  How many people die from other kinds of accidents, like falls from a high ladder or slipping on a banana peel?  Is that a significant fraction, or is it less than 1%?  

What of different medical conditions?  What fraction of people die from heart attacks vs. cancer vs. infections?  Which is a higher proportion of all deaths--medical causes or accidental causes?  I realize I don't know the answers to these questions, even though it's an important piece of data to know.   

This week we have just two questions: 

1. How many people die (from all causes) each year in the United States?  

2. What are the top 5 causes of death in the United States?  (As a fraction of the whole.)  

The real SearchResearch question here is going to be a somewhat tricky data source problem: Where do you get your data from, and why do you believe it's accurate?  

For instance, if you do this query on different search platforms, you get very different answers: 
Google: 2.47 million 
Wolfram Alpha:  2.67 million
Bing: 2.65 million (they don't answer it directly, but I did the math based on the data they show)

That's a difference of 200,000 between Alpha and Google, which is slightly more than the population of Akron, Ohio!  How's that possible? What's going on?   

(An interesting contrast: Google says that there are approximately 4M births / year in the US; Bing gives the same answer, while Alpha claims there are 4.24M births each year.  240,000 birthdays is a big variation!)  

Let us know what you find out... and just as important, HOW you figured out the answer.  What sources do you seek out?  Do you trust them?  How much do you know about the methods they used to collect the data?  

Search on!  


  1. [deaths per year united states]

    From CDC (Credible Source) Deaths and Mortality Number of deaths (2014): 2,626,418 and later read: In 2015, a total of 2,712,630 resident deaths were registered in the United States—86,212 more deaths than in 2014.

    Also shows: “Number of deaths for leading causes of death for 2015 ”

    From there:

    What are the leading causes of death?

    And also shows

    Cause of deaths comparison 1980 Vs 2015

    All persons All causes (1985) 1,989,841 (2015) All causes 2,712,630
    1. Diseases of heart: 761,085 1. Diseases of heart: 633,842
    2. Malignant neoplasms: 416,509 2.Malignant neoplasms 595,930
    3. Cerebrovascular diseases: 170,225 3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases 155,041
    4. Unintentional injuries: 105,718 4. Unintentional injuries:146,571
    5. Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases 56,050 5. Cerebrovascular diseases 140,323
    6. Pneumonia and influenza 54,619 6. Alzheimer's disease 110,561
    7. Diabetes mellitus 34,851 7. Diabetes mellitus 79,535
    8. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis 30,583 8 Influenza and pneumonia 57,062
    9. Atherosclerosis 29,449 9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis 3 49,959
    10. Suicide 26,869 10. Suicide 44,193

    The data variation is very interesting. I'll SearchResearch on that. I guess variation could be on the year taken as base. As CDC shows in changes between 2014 and 2015.

    Also found with [united states deaths in 2016]: U.S. and World Population Clock and for deaths mention the trust source is CDC and links to data mentioned.

    1. I tried to find the data you mention, Dr. Russell. On Google and Bing couldn't find the [] that gave me a direct answer.

      Then tried Wolfram Alpha

      [people died United States]

      And found the same number you shared. That is estimated for 2014. What I found interesting is the Anual deaths history after searching there [people died Mexico]

      Wolfram Alpha: 562,484 (2014 estimated) And the Anual deaths history distribution is so different. Peaks in 1950, 1970 and since year 2000 follow same distribution that the United States.

      [personas muertas por año Mexico] found some data but not the answer searched. Then I went to official source: INEGI

      [muertos por año mexico INEGI] INEGI = Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía / National Institute of Statistics and Geography

      Number of Deaths

      2014: 633,641
      2015: 655,688

      Defunciones generales /General Deaths Mexico

      [principales causas muerte Mexico]
      First answer gives a list

      lista de las principales causas por las que se muere la gente en México y el mundo List of principal causes for death Mexico and the World (2015) OMS World Health Organization

      INEGI says: Car accidents number 4

      Then went to OMS and database sends you to WHO English version

      Crude birth and death rate Data by country Ctrl- F "United States" and then "Mexico"

      United States: Crude Rate Birth (per 1000 population, 2013) = 13.2
      Crude Rate death (per 1000 population, 2013) = 8.4

      Crude Rate Birth (per 1000 population, 2013)= 18.4
      Crude Rate Birth (per 1000 population, 2013)= 5.3
      *These data Last updated: 2015-06-17

      [death by year who]

      The top 10 causes of death 2015. Also shows 2010

      WHO says total deaths United States (2014) =2626418 Mexico (2014) = 618097

  2. I immediately went to and search deaths per year and found the total for 2015, the latest year available. I then search "cause of death United States" and found a table for the years 1999-2015, from which I extracted the data below for 2015. The total on this table matched the other one.

    Diseases of Heart 633,842
    Cancer 595,930
    Chronic lower respiratory diseases 155,041
    Accidents (unintentional injuries) 146,571
    Cerebrovascular diseases/Stroke 140,323
    Alzheimer's disease 110,561
    Diabetes mellitus 79,535
    Influenza and pneumonia 57,062
    Kidney Disease 49,959
    Suicide 44,193
    Septicemia 40,773
    Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis 40,326
    Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease 32,200
    Parkinson's disease 27,972
    Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids 19,803
    Homicide 17,793

    All Causes 2,712,630

    Data are based on information from all resident death certificates filed in the 50 states and the District of Columbia using demographic and medical characteristics. Causes of death classified by the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD–10) are ranked according to the number of deaths assigned to rankable causes. Cause-of-death statistics are based on the underlying cause of death.

  3. have to 2 part this… part 1:
    …went to the funeral and insurance industries - thought they might have relatively solid death/risk numbers… problem is when money information is
    involved, numbers become more elusive and fuzzy and the definitions of words like 'life & death' become subject to parsing…
    anyway, to buy some meditative time I tried to search the cemetery/memorial image you used and even that proved to be difficult…
    image search didn't come trough for me - even when I cropped & added terms like 'civil war monument'… didn't help that the image
    had been enhanced? - would be curious to know how & where you found it?
    383 Washington Street Middletown, CT
    soldier monument base
    Indian Hill
    Indian Hill Cemetery is adjacent to Wesleyan University
    the Goo Maps offering
    GAR (Grand Army of the Republic)
    'white' bronze statues
    Monumental Bronze Company Bridgeport, CT 1874 - 1914
    MBC Catalogue
    a different civil war memorial

    1. See below. I took it on a run. (It's a beautiful place to go for a quick jog while in Middletown.)

  4. part 2:
    Actuaries & predictive analytics
    CoDs US by cause/age/gender
    these are fascinating - better than lava lamps - check Afghanistan, Russia, Germany, the Baltics, US, China, Japan, the Koreas compared, etc.…
    100 year period - past into the future, by age & gender for countries… weird symmetries/similar directions…
    population pyramid - Mexico
    interesting use of predictive analytics applied to baseball

    seems to me that Wolfram should have the edge in this kind of statistical question, but hard to suss out on the site…
    there must be an algorithm/app/tool for this…
    headstone SERP
    actuarial tables united states type of death… 'mortality' would have been a good term SERP
    as Ramón found:
    CDC - tended to be older figures
    more CDC gov/bureaucratic info

    Life table - wiki
    Gompertz–Makeham law of mortality
    Neoplasm/neoplasia - word of the day… as a CoD (cause of death)
    fwiw - for Día de Muertos)
    speaking of macabre like this poster, I was also exposed to this in elementary school - music only. so much for nappy time
    fire SERP
    fire numbers USFA
    see by state

  5. regarding the image:
    who would guess a cemetery had its own twitter account? - Middletown, CT/Wesleyan University - have you been there for 'ground truth'?
    running at Indian Hill - good view of the rifle butt
    last year - almost to the week
    oak death

    1. Good Morning!

      Hi Remmij, very interesting links. I like a lot the Baseball one. And learn many things with the others. Actuary tables, Mexico's pyramid. The headstone business and the data the SERP showed for UK in 2005 in which 70% people cremated.

      Question: Indian Hills is the Cemetery's photo from Dr. Russell? If so how you finally found it? The Autumn photo you share looks similar but not sure.

      Finally, about Día de los muertos, soon Coco movie will be on theaters

    2. Remmij is correct about the cemetery location. It's the cemetery in Middletown, CT on Indian Hill. I took this picture when I went there for a run (naturally) on a late autumn day. If you check the file name, you'll see it's "civil war cemetery" -- and then if you zoom in on the image, you'll find that the statue was erected by the Mansfield Brigade, #54. Doing a search-by-image with the photo, then adding in those as search terms brings you to the information you seek.

      (Remmij - is that what you did?)

    3. Thanks Dr. Russell. It is a good lesson for me: Always read the photo names. I didn't do it because focused so much in the question and not the image. Glad Remmij checked.

      About the Zoom. I still don't know how to do it on Chrome OS. I'll search and learn. I tried Chrome Zoom but didn't work for me to be able to read.

      I'll re-do your Search Process on the image. Thanks for sharing, Dr. Russell. And thanks Remmij for always looking for the small details that gives us more knowledge.

    4. (Remmij - is that what you did?)
      after not getting results with image search, went a different way & used the headstone in the lower right… gave Indian Hill/Middletown
      there are often multiple paths - some more efficient, some more convoluted… often I'm trudging the latter…
      [oliver e. baldwin 1883]
      image search results: even when I isolated the statue, no dice… nor by adding CT - as indicated by the headstones
      [civil war cemetery mansfield brigade 53]
      btw, nice whale song video… interesting that you didn't hear it while there — scuba sounds aside, there are parts that almost sound like a crackling campfire…
      any idea what that was? some file fish variety?
      Pink Skunk Anemonefish (Amphiprion perideraion)

    5. Remmij, I tried to find your fish. For me looks like a dolphin (I know it is not) so searched [ dolphin parts] and found Rostrum. That part I think is the key to find the fish. Then searched using Fiji, black white and Rostrum. Still not luck.

    6. Ramón - given the date - I was wondering how Cortés is viewed in MX? wonder if Neil pondered • John Cabot and Giovanni de Verrazano • Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain?? ...

      Hernán Cortés
      from Brazil… maybe it should have been Pedro Álvares Cabral or Pizarro there??

      "Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries of the Americas and elsewhere which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. The landing is celebrated as "Columbus Day" in the United States, as "Día de la Raza" ("Day of the Race") in many countries in Latin America, as "Día de la Hispanidad" and "Fiesta Nacional" in Spain, where it is also the religious festivity of la Virgen del Pilar, as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas) in Belize and Uruguay, as Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural (Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity) in Argentina, and as Giornata Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo orFesta Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo in Italy as well as in Little Italys around the world.[1][2] These holidays have been unofficially celebrated since the late 18th century and they have been officially celebrated in various countries since the early 20th century."from wiki

      Day of the Races - civic holiday
      the Yucatan Times

    7. Ramón - thought I might find something scanning this - but no real luck - colors/shapes vary a lot… will have to see if Dan reveals…
      Fish Species in Fiji
      about as close as I could find:
      Aluterus scriptus
      seem to have the ability to change color…

    8. Quick answer: It's a bird wrasse, Gomphosus varius. Very cute fish.

      I'll get back to you about the particular species of anemonefish...

    9. Thanks Dr. Russell and Remmij for the Quick Answer. Searched the fish and found is also called Birdnose. Because the large snout. I'll check Dolphin snout maybe rostrum was not the correct word. Found this video. the color change is beautiful. I think it is not the same fish but two joined to show how fishes vary in a single video. Dr. Russell's video shows Gomphosus in a much clear way.

    10. Thanks Dan – you were surrounded by a bounty of types…
      must be a female?
      "Gomphosus varius is a sequential hermaphrodite that means it evolves all during its life. It can change sex and all along the evolution its body shape, color intensity and pattern vary a lot."
      always changing
      wiki - swimming jerkily flapping their pectoral fins
      wouldn't have called it brown
      I didn't pick up on the scale pattern in the video
      A female Bird Wrasse, Gomphosus varius, at Ra, Western Fiji.

    11. BTW - the crackling sounds you hear on the video are caused by various shrimps in the vicinity. Check out the spectrogram:

    12. other than the understandable search for "sizzling sausages in a pan" what prompted the search & what query/how did you arrive at the shrimp-ish cacophony?*
      a noisy place - probably not as bad as Reagan National though…
      humpbacks - 11 seconds
      8 seconds of ice
      silent, only visual - Scholte wave. It only exists in the elastic seabeds
      in the Trench
      a quieter place - despite the incorrect date, photo was actually taken three days from now…
      Young Place, NM
      btw - was this the latest photo location? safe|productive travels
      typical elitist D.C. comment
      found by using the courtesy phone
      used: [small shrimp that burst air bubbles with their claws australia]
      pistol shrimp
      image SERP
      turns out you can hear them in L.A. ;-)

    13. thanks for the shrimp point - made for a very interesting search - no doubt weapons developers are looking at this?? & rave DJs… & movie sound effects folks (the general ocean acoustic library)
      keep them away from your dive mask, shower sponge, your other pet shrimp, (oxford comma) and BBQ grill not set up for that kinda thermal assault.
      implosion of the cavitation bubble - hi-speed video
      the math - Rayleigh–Plesset equation - fluid mechanics
      school cartoon - starts ~ 10:00 in, two meter range, light flash 4,700˚celsius - thought the others were interesting too
      more BBC - hi-speed/slo-mo camarón de pistola
      in the sponge look
      the GoPro model seems pretty slick
      pet shrimp example… it's the thrill of the fight… no claw
      Pacific University professor and marine biologist David Scholnick
      grammarly blog

  6. I was interested in the number of US citens killed by gunfire, A number - 100 per day is often in the news. THe latest I could find at CDC works out to about 88 per day accounting for homicide and suicide. Curiously the death rate for vehicle deaths is the same, more or less a little, These data are from 2014. This was my query. I also wanted to know number of fentanyl deaths but will look later . . . now to yours.

    1. How many people die (from all causes) each year in the United States? shows that in 2015 death by all causes to all persons was 2,712,630

    2. What are the top 5 causes of death in the United States? (As a fraction of the whole.) [same page 2015]

    #1 is Diseases of heart 633,842 (23%)
    #2 is malignant neoplasms 595,930 (23%)
    #3 is Chronic lower respiratory dieseases 155,041 (6%)
    #4 is unintentional injuries 146,571 (6%)
    #5 is cerebrovascular diseases 140,323 (6%) covers this stuff in easy to understand format

  7. Mr. Russell, Off-topic, but interesting: "You Are Not Hallucinating. A Hurricane Is Headed To Ireland" via Forbes,

  8. the article on Ophelia was interesting - Fair Isle/Shetlands would look to be in the center of the cone currently…
    WX channel
    I was also curious - other than personal preference, is there a reason you keep the GPS off & limit EXIF data? does the GoPro have GPS?

    1. GPS doesn't work underwater...

    2. Good Morning!

      I didn't know about GPS underwater.

      Remmij, thanks for the links about Hernán Cortés and Bird Wrasse. They are very interesting and so beautiful photos.

      About your question, here it's celebrated "Día de la Raza" ("Day of the Race".) It is really not a big deal. Some protests, some offering. And still remembered. Searching found

      First time celebration Argentina in 1913. Mexico in 1928.

      About Cortés only remember some lessons from School. Here, at least that I know, it is not mentioned so much. The meaningful events are:

      La Noche Triste ("The Night of Sorrows", literally "The Sad Night" from Wikipedia and

      Matanza de Cholula ("Slaughter of Cholula"

    3. Thanks for telling us about GPS Dr. Russell and thanks Remmij for asking. Searching more data about the topic found: Maybe in 2020's POSYDON Is Like GPS, But for Underwater Submarine Drones

      I wonder when and how will GPS similar, for regular people, underwater will be created.

    4. actually I was asking about the camera/phone used to take the photo in Indian Hill (as well as other images gleaned from Dan's runs/rides/travels… above water surface) - that's why the Jeffery's Image Metadata Viewer screenshot was included to show the minimization of the EXIF info.

      the POSYDON info is interesting – IDNK that seawater was such a barrier…
      thanks Ramón for that and the Cortés view - I was wondering if there was a parallel to track to how the C.Columbus perception is being changed in the US…

      soggy GPS
      one possible application
      did not know that Dan had his own 'HOUSE' @ Wesleyan

      …speaking of death and non-numerical descriptions of it - the US civil war - reminder of Dan's recent post about Valley Of The Shadow Of Death, snapped by British photographer Roger Fenton in 1855
      Alexander Gardner
      Abe, in the field
      left to right
      M. Brady
      new headstone, new death date
      Fenton related

  9. I found both of my answers from the “Health Unites States Report 2016” which I located using the query [death statistics]. Yes, I know, [death statistics] would have sufficed. I literally pulled this data straight from the report as they’ve interpreted it so your question of reliability is an important one. Although this doesn’t feel like enough reason in today’s age, I’m trusting this source because it’s published by a government agency and because I have no alternative. It would take me too long to analyze their data

    1. 2,712,630 people
    2. The top five causes of death in the US are: heart disease, malignant neoplasms, chronic lower respiratory disease, unintentional injuries, cerebrovascular disease