# The Death Index - \$500 Reward

Remember that idea I had, back in the day? The Brain Crack? About causes of death?

It's easy to find out what the leading causes of death in America are. Of course, cancer and heart disease are right at the top of the list.

But, assuming that immortality is not the goal (I know, we like to think big here in Nerdfighteria, but let's just assume that it's not for now) I want to know not what kills people, but what decreases life span the most.

So what is the Death Index?

The average life expectancy in the US is currently 78. If someone dies of a disease when they are 78 or older, we can say "well, that person did pretty well...lived as long as the average person, it sucks, but it's not the end of the world." And thus, that death does not count toward the death index.

If that person died of a heart attack, then heart attacks get 0 points on the death index.

However, if that person died of a heart attack when they were 60, heart attacks would get 18 points. If they died in a car accident when they were 30, car accidents would get 48 points.

Of course, there's no use in trying to get data for every single person who died in the last year in America.

But I want to know these numbers, and no matter where I look I can't find them. It would be a matter of fairly simple math if I could find the average age at which people die in car accidents...the average age at which people die from heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer, drug overdoses, shootings, cancer, etc.

Where can I find these data? Please please please help me. I've had this brain crack for almost a decade and it's wearing on me. I will give a \$500 reward to the first person who can find me the data and calculate a fairly accurate Death Index with those data.

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Comment by Best [Forum ಠಿ_ಠ Mod] on June 30, 2012 at 8:45pm

http://www.wolframalpha.com/

it usually has good stats

Comment by Benjamin Bastian on September 11, 2010 at 7:34pm
Oh, and also. In the report there are certain age-ranges which "does not meet standards of reliability or precision", so I just ignored those fields.

The report lives here.
Comment by Benjamin Bastian on September 11, 2010 at 7:24pm
Hello!

I believe I have solved your dilemma. I used the National Vital Statistics Vol. 50, No. 15 as the data (granted, it's a few years old) and wrote a small program to calculate the death indices of over a hundred causes of death.

I posted the index here. Tell me what you think!
Comment by Sam Levine on September 11, 2010 at 1:45pm
They say smoking a cigarette takes ten seconds off your life, not to mention the cumulative effects.
Comment by Don VanDemark on September 10, 2010 at 11:45am
JDF wins a cigar. If you look at the data in the links I provided, that was the leading cause on the Index.
Comment by JDF on September 10, 2010 at 11:38am
I'm not sure what the answer will be. However, based on the way you are giving points my vote goes to SIDS being at the top of your list. You figure for each one they get 78 points. Would be interesting to see it all broken down into numbers though.
Comment by Sam Saucier on September 8, 2010 at 3:24pm
smoking. alcohol. unhealthy lifestyle.
Comment by Samantha Bialostok on September 8, 2010 at 3:07pm
Comment by Baffled on September 7, 2010 at 9:14pm
Try one of the links posted on this web site. What you are seeking are the actuary data used by insurance companies to determine who pays what for life, health and disability insurance. The more likely you are to get sick and/or die the more expensive your insurance will be.
http://www.actuary.com/actuarial-science/actuarial-tables-actuary.htm
Comment by black raven on September 7, 2010 at 8:54pm
The top killer in America: DEATH!! Tell your friends.