I’m not sure about my answer to this week’s question, because I wasn’t able to find the statistic that I am referencing. I decided to write about it none the less because at the time it had a tremendous impact on me.
When I was in my last year of high school, age 18, I took a “world issues” class. We had a computer in our classroom we were allowed to use for research. This computer was connected to a database that had all kinds of world health statistics- maybe aggregated by the World Health Organization (WHO)? Probably not though, since I checked the WHO website and couldn’t find statistics similar to this one I read back in high school.
I was probably messing around with the computer one day reading health statistics when I found a function that would tell you how many people born in a particular year were currently alive. Naturally, I typed in “1983” (the year I was born) only to find out that 10% of people born the same year as me had already died. If you narrowed the search to North America the number was 4%.
To add some context to this, it was September and a friend of mine died the previous June. I was still pretty distraught. When I read that statistic I felt a jolt and realized my mortality, really, for the first time… all of a sudden my friend’s death wasn’t just a terrible coincidence, it was something that could happen to anyone, and had in fact happened to one of every ten people who had been born the same year as me. The way this information was presented, as a cold hard fact, was quite sobering.
Of course, this was twelve years ago and maybe I’m remembering wrong. My inability to find similar statistics supports this theory. In my attempt to find this statistic I found some interesting resources: The WHO Mortality Database, information from StatsCan, the Wikipedia article about Millennials and an article about “30 Things Turning 30 This Year” (turns out it’s not just me).
I’m interested to know if anyone else has ever heard of statistics similar to the one I discuss.