View Full Version : 'Death Map' Shows Where Americans Most Likely to Die

Cynthia Ford
01-02-2009, 02:24 PM

Risk of death from natural hazards by county
Red is more likely than average
Blue less likely.

From Fox News:

'Death Map' Shows Where Americans Most Likely to Die
A new map plotting deaths resulting from forces of nature reveals where Mother Nature is most likely to kill you.

People living in the South along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts have a higher likelihood of dying from a natural hazard compared to residents of the Great Lakes area and urbanized Northeast.

And while intense hurricanes and tornadoes steal headlines for their intense winds and overall destruction, the new map shows what other previous studies have found, that everyday hazards, such as severe winter and summer weather, and heat account for the majority of natural hazard deaths in the United States.

"This work will enable research and emergency management practitioners to examine hazard deaths through a geographic lens," said researcher Susan Cutter of the University of South Carolina, Columbia. "Using this as a tool to identify areas with higher than average hazard deaths can justify allocation of resources to these areas with the goal of reducing loss of life."

Cutter and Kevin Borden, also of the University of South Carolina, Columbia, analyzed nationwide data from 1970 to 2004.

In addition to the South having high mortality from natural hazards, other risky areas included the northern Great Plains region where heat and drought were the biggest killers and the Rocky Mountain region (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico) with winter weather and floods as top killers.

The south-central United States is also a dangerous area, with floods and tornadoes posing the greatest threats.

Cutter and Borden found that of the natural hazards, some were more deadly than others over the years, including:

"It is the chronic hazards like severe summer weather and severe winter weather and heat that are contributing the majority of the hazard fatalities, not fatalities associated with things like earthquakes or hurricanes," Cutter told LiveScience.

She added that people and officials tend to be more prepared for big hurricanes and tornadoes, which could partly explain the lower mortality from these storms compared with everyday occurrences.

Overall, during the study period, nearly 20,000 people died due to natural hazards. For comparison, here are the top five causes of U.S. deaths in 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

The natural hazards research, which will be detailed in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Health Geographics, was supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.


Gerry Adams
01-02-2009, 04:48 PM
Now this is very interesting. I notice that some, not all, of the major metropolitan areas that are often associated with high crime are the least likely to encounter "death by nature".

I can't wait for the criminal index overlay. Perhaps this will disclose an indication of natural selection at work.