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Your odds of dying by age

What is the probability of death by age in Australia?

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Dying may be inevitable, but in Australia, we're living longer than ever before. So if we're living longer, what are our odds of dying before 50? How many people die before 30? What percentage of people live to 80? Getting answers to these questions can put our fears into perspective and provide us with some practical steps to put in place for the future. We've laid out the odds of dying by age stats below.

What are the odds of dying?

According to 2017 data from the General Record of Incidence of Mortality (GRIM), the average Australian is living longer than ever before. However, age and gender still have a big impact on your odds of dying. Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Most (27.12%) Australian men and women die when they are 85 and older.
  • There's a 17.12% higher chance that you will die when you're 85 and older compared to the ages of 80 and 84 - a year-on-year increase, showing that more of us are living longer.
  • At every age, men are more likely to die younger.
  • In many younger age groups, men are 50% more likely to die than women.

Odds of dying by age

While stats may help settle some of our fears and put them into perspective, there's a real practical benefit to finding out more about the odds of dying. It can help you prepare for the future financially. The table below breaks down your odds of dying by various age groups for both men and women.

Age groupMale odds of dyingFemale odds of dyingOverall

How many people die before 30

According to the data, there's a 0.42% chance that you'll die before the age of 30. These are some of the biggest takeaways:

  • The highest chances of dying per age group are in 0-4 year olds.
  • The percentages come down to 0.2% from ages 5-19 and then slowly increase as you get older.
  • In some age groups, men are 50% more likely to die than women. For example, between the ages of 25-29, the age specific death-rates per 100,000 for females was 26.1%, compared to 65% for males.

All in all, it's very unlikely that you'll die before you reach 30. It's helpful to know that companies can use statistics like these to determine risk. This is especially true for life insurance companies and explains why premiums for younger people are usually cheaper.

Odds of dying before 50

Once again, men are more likely to die before the age of 50 than women. According to GRIM, 1,856 men died between the ages of 45-49 compared to 1,124 women in 2017; that's a difference of 732 deaths.

Having said that, the percentage of people living to 50 is still very high. There is only a 0.89% chance of death between the ages of 30 to 50. Putting that into perspective, there's more chance of you tossing a coin 6 times and getting all heads.

Odds of living to 70

Since 1907 to 2018, there has been a 75.3% decrease in death rates. We're living longer, which means our odds of living to 70 are increasing. Here are some of the changes:

  • In 2018, there were 892.5 deaths per 100,000 people among the ages 65 to 69
  • In 2000, that number was 1391.7
  • In 1970 there were 3323.5 deaths per 100,000 people

It's pretty clear that the numbers have improved significantly as time moves forward.

What are the odds of dying today?

Your odds of dying today depend on numerous factors, from obvious stuff like your current health and what you're doing, to an infinite number of things completely outside of your control. These are some of the more common questions people had about risk and certain activities:

Odds of dying in a plane crash

It's well known that aviation is one of the safest ways to travel. According to the US National Safety Council, the odds of dying as a plane passenger is 1 in 205,552 - very unlikely. In fact, there's much more chance of you being struck by lightning in Australia (a 1 in 12,000 chance, according to UQ mathematician Professor Peter Adams).

Odds of dying in a car crash

The odds of dying in a car crash are 1 in 103. While these stats relate to America - Australia's number of road fatalities is roughly half of those in the US - the country still had over 1,145 fatalities in 2018. Australia is currently the 15th highest out of the 31 OECD countries for deaths per 100,000 population. Car crashes are among the most common causes of deaths not caused by natural causes, alongside suicide and unintentional poisoining. Although it's tempting to focus on the startling events, like a plane crash or natural disaster, the reality is that you're much more likely to die going about your everyday activities, like commuting to work or driving to the shops.

Odds of dying in a helicopter crash

Although recent high-profile deaths have given rise to the belief that helicopters are dangerous, they're still. For example, between 1990 and 2019, there were 5,098 accidents involving helicopters in the US with 907 (17.8%) fatalities. When you compare that with the odds of dying in a car crash or from a natural cause, helicopters are still very safe.

MarketWatch analysis of data from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Odds of dying skydiving

22 people died from skydiving in Australia between the years of 2006 and 2015, according to a 2016 report from the Australian Parachute Federation. That's just over 2 fatalities per year. According to experts on the subject, skydiving increases the risk of dying by about eight to nine micromorts per jump. In simpler terms, that means you have roughly a one-in-100,000 chance of dying skydiving.

Don't let the odds get to you: Compare life insurance today

If you're worried about your odds of dying, you're not alone. Some things you simply can't prevent. Fortunately, you can take care of one concern now. If you're worried about leaving your family enough behind or have assets to protect, a life insurance policy can provide much-needed income when you pass away.

Even if your odds of dying by age or gender are low, it's arguably the best time to get life insurance. That's because life insurance providers consider all these statistics when underwriting a policy. They look at your odds of dying against the population, gender and age group you belong to. These odds help an insurance company determine the probability of you dying before your next birthday or in the next few years.

What does this mean for you? In a nutshell, your premiums are likely to be cheaper if your odds of dying are lower. So if your chances are low, it's a great time to buy life insurance. For example, based on a stepped policy with NobleOak, there could be a $104.26* difference in price between a life insurance policy aged 31 and 40.

Needless to say, the longer you put it off, the more expensive your premiums are likely to be, especially if you've developed any health conditions.

*Stepped level premiums are based on a sample profile from NobleOak Premium Direct Life Insurance in February 2019. Level premium is made up for illustrative purposes.

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