“Natural death”

I found this 538 post on what it means to die of “natural causes” particularly interesting.  So, what is a “natural” cause of death?  Basically, anything that’s not unnatural :-):

A natural cause of death is anything that isn’t a non-natural cause of death (I know, I know, bear with me). When people kill themselves, are killed by someone else or die as the result of an accident, that’s considered non-natural. Any other cause is “natural.”

According to the latest CDC data, 2,596,993 people died in the U.S. in 2013. The vast majority of those deaths, 92.5 percent, were of natural causes. Thankfully, the data is more detailed than that, though — there are 46 categories of natural causes of death listed, as well as 44 subcategories. In the chart below, I’ve summarized the 10 natural causes responsible for the most deaths in 2013.

So, what’s likely to “naturally” do you in?  You probably won’t be too surprised to learn it’s heart disease and cancer:


That said, I was quite surprised by the leading cause of non-natural death:


Ummm, watch what you ingest. And take care of your heart.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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