Would you rather know when you will die, or how you will die? Well, now you can have your answer to both questions at the same time thanks to an animated chart that instantly calculates your likely age and manner of death, based upon government statistics.
The data is compiled by Flowing Data, a site that "explores how statisticians, designers, data scientists, and others use analysis, visualization, and exploration to understand data and ourselves." The chart on How You Will Die requires just three parameters: your age, sex and ethnicity. Once those markers are entered in, the chart comes alive, showcasing your likelihood of dying at every age and your probable cause of death.
You can find the chart and enter in your own data here. (Of course, if you prefer to know nothing about how and when you will die, you'll want to avoid following that link.)
The main source of the data in the chart is the Underlying Cause of Death database maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which provides information on the number of people who died in the United States between 1999 and 2014. Since the CDC uses death certificates to compile that information, the cause of death is also known for each case.
Although it's fun to enter in your own age, sex and ethnicity first, don't stop there. It's interesting to adjust the parameters to see how the results change. One thing you'll notice is that the younger you are, the less likely you are to die. That's probably not too surprising, but it's still interesting to see how your likely manner of death changes dramatically depending on your age of death. For instance, if you die before the age of 20, you're most likely to die from perinatal, congenital or external causes. By your mid-50s, your biggest concerns become cancer or heart disease.
The most alarming visual in the chart is the grid to the left, made up of gray or colored dots. Each dot represents one of your possible lives. As the dots get colored in, those possible lives get snuffed out, one by one. It's a morbid exercise to watch the simulation slowly color the whole grid, but also humbling. It's a reminder to be grateful for each year that passes, that your life hasn't followed one of those grim paths.