The last time you purchased insurance or made a contribution to your RRSP, did you think about how long you might live? According to recent statistics, Canadian men live just over 78 years on average, while women live about 83 years. Men are expected to spend 88.8% (68.3 years) of their life in good health, compared to 86.3% (70.8 years) for women.
Most people know that how long we can expect to live depends heavily on genetics, weight, smoking status, lifestyle choices and luck, but you may be surprised to know that where you live can also be a contributing factor. The old notion that living far away from the stress and dangers of a big city will help you live longer is inaccurate. With a large percentage of their populations living in cities with quick access to emergency medical care, British Columbia and Ontario had the highest average life expectancies at 81.2 years old and 81 years old, respectively. Alberta and Quebec were a close second at just over 80 years.
In the other provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest life expectancy at 78.3 years old. In Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the average lifespan is just short of 80 years.
Canada’s three northern territories have the lowest life expectancy. People in Nunavut usually die the youngest at an average of 72 years old. In the Yukon, people reach 77 years old on average and in the Northwest Territories, residents live to about 78 years old.
So now that you know how long you can expect to live, let’s look at how you might die.
The most common causes of death in Canada are heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and “accidental injury,” a broad category that includes a lot of horribly unlucky stuff that just happens. Heart disease will take 1 in 5 of us. Your odds of death from cancer are 1 in 7 followed by stroke at 1 in 23. Your odds of death by injury (all injury types combined) are only about 1 in 36. This explains why life insurance costs several times more than accidental death insurance.
Here are a few interesting facts about death that could come in handy the next time you are struggling for an interesting topic of discussion at an old relative’s birthday party:
- The likelihood you’ll be killed by lightning is approximately 1 in 2,650,000 —your odds of winning a Lotto 649 jackpot are just under 1 in 14,000,000!
- While being interviewed by Dick Cavett, publisher Jerome Rodale was bragging that he was so healthy that he’d live to be 100 when he slumped over and died from a heart attack. The show was never aired.
- Seven breeds of dogs account for 98% of all fatal dog attacks. In order, they are: Pitbull, German Shepherd, Chow, Malamute, Husky, Wolf hybrids and the Akita. Your odds of dying in any given year from a dog attack: 1 in 10,876,179.
- The most expensive funeral in history was for Alexander the Great. In today’s dollars, it would cost over $600 million. Average cost of a funeral in Canada is approximately $7,000.
- A few months before he died in a car accident, James Dean starred in a driver safety commercial in which he stated, “drive safely; the life you save could be mine.” The odds of dying in a car accident are approximately 1 in 6,500.
- Worried about dying in a plane crash? You have the same odds that you will die from the collision of an asteroid hitting the earth in the next one hundred years: 1 in 500,000.
- Your lifetime odds of death by suicide are approximately 1 in 121, slightly better than your odds of death from falling down.
- In ancient Japan, it was thought that somewhere on a cat’s tail was a single hair that could restore the life of a dying person. Relatives would bring a cat to the dying so they could pluck a hair and try their luck. My guess is that this tradition became less popular when people realized that angry cats were actually accelerating the deaths of some unlucky people.
- The ideal moment for being cryogenically frozen is within 10 minutes before death.
- It’s a myth that more people commit suicide during the holidays.
- It’s impossible to kill yourself by holding your breath. Go ahead, give it a try…I DARE you.