According to the World Health Organization's 2004 World Health Report, life expectancy averages 66 years in the developing nations and is approaching 80 years in some industrial nations. The causes and life-cycle timing of death are profoundly shaped by level of socio-economic development. Also shaped is the gender distribution of death.
Accidents and violence now account for two-thirds of all deaths of Americans one to nineteen years-of-age. And those dying in old age increasing die slow motion deaths from chronic ailments, often dying socially-- as when institutionalized within a nursing home--before expiring biologically.
In 2002, in the United States, various common or noteworthy causes of death were:
- Heart Disease: 696,947
- Cancer: 557,271
- Stroke: 162,672
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,816
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 106,742
- Influenza/pneumonia: 65,681
- Alzheimer's disease: 58,866
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 40,974
- Septicemia: 33,865
- Suicide: 30,622
- Murder: 16,110
- Execution: 71
Statistical data from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
There are three main causes of death: aging, disease and trauma.
Most likely the hardest cause of death to overcome is trauma. The problems of aging and disease usually at least provide ample time to solve them, if the technology exists. But even in a postulated world where aging and disease were correctable conditions, getting shot in the head is not. In situations where time available to provide treatment is extremely short, the success rate of even advanced paramedical technology remains low. Unless technology advances to the point (via perhaps nanotechnology) that a body can automatically treat itself for severe trauma, then the time it takes to deliver a patient to a care facility will likely remain the overriding factor.