There are two truths about death: it is inevitable, and it cannot be predicted.
Be that as it may, people still want to know, either to make themselves anxious, or to plan the rest of their days. While DNA sequencing and medical tests are the most accurate(ish) predictors of causes of death, a data visualisation was created to make an educated guess for individuals.
Nathan Yau is a statistician who created the simulator ‘How Will You Die?’, which is one of many data visualisations he’s put together. You might want to check out ‘Bed Sizes Around the World’ or ‘How Much We Eat vs. How Much We Need’.
Of his work, Yau explains, ” I want to make data available and useful to those who are and aren’t necessarily data experts; I think visualisation plays a major role in this”. He used data from the Underlying Cause of Death database, which provides data for the number of people who died in the United States between 1999 and 2014. It must be noted that the stats will vary between Australia and the United States, but the tool is a fair predictor of national health.
BUT if you’re particularly curious about how healthy you are on an Australian scale, there’s the CSIRO Healthy Diet Score, which will make you feel terrible about the number of veggies you don’t eat.
So, how do you use it? It’s REALLY simple.
Enter your sex, race, and age. Each dot represents one of your simulated lives, and as each year passes, more of your simulated selves pass away. Colour corresponds to cause of death, and the bars on the right keep track of the cumulative percentages. By the end, you’re left with the chances that you will die of each cause.
For a 22-year-old white female (that’s me!), things look pretty good. The numbers are less unfavourable, however, for males and minorities.