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How Will You Die?

Posted: July 31, 2014

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Cooking dinner, having sex and going to the bathroom are three of the riskiest things you can do in many parts of the world.

So let's cut to the chase. Depending on where you live on Earth, cooking dinner, having sex and going to the bathroom are either three of life's many pleasures, or they're the riskiest things you can do.

Why?

When you dig into global statistics, two interesting facts pop out. The first is that, from a scientific perspective, we all pretty much die the same way: lack of blood to the brain. But how we get to that last stage varies quite a bit. And in a global sense, it varies depending on where you live and how much money you make.

The World Bank says there are 213 countries (but the specific number depends on how you count). It divides them into three groups based on average income per person: high-, middle- and low-income countries.

Two of these groups probably make less money than you'd think.

Here's the rough breakdown, in average dollars earned per person each year: High income, $39,312; middle income, $4,721; low income, $664.

Most people in the world, about 5 billion of them, fall somewhere in the middle-income category. Then there are about a billion people in high-income countries and a billion in low-income countries.

So if you live in a high-income country, the top three ways to die are heart disease, stroke and lung diseases, including lung cancer, the WHO says.

But if you live in one of the world's poorest countries, the top killers are lower respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS and diarrhea.

In rich countries, 7 out of 10 people make it past their 70th birthday. In poor countries, that percentage drops to 2 out of 10 people. In fact, in the 34 poorest countries in the world, only 6 out of 10 people make it past their 15th birthday.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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