How Many of My Facebook Friends Will Die Over the Next Year

This past year has not been a good one on my Facebook Friends list. At least 3 of my facebook friends have died. In at least 2 of the cases I probably never would’ve heard of the occurrence if not for facebook. So it occurs to me, every year from here on out, I’m probably going to hear about facebook friends dying. I wanted to know what the specific odds are.

Most of my friends on facebook are between the ages of 40-49 (I’m 42).

According to www.deathriskrankings.com, about 126,000 of the 43mm people aged 40-49 are expected to die over the next year from now. Thats about a 99.702% chance that any one single person on my friends list WON’T die. Thats the good news. Since I have about 1000 “friends”, there’s only about a 5% chance that ZERO people on my Facebook friends list will die (99.7% to the 1000th power). Meaning, there’s about a 95% chance that least one of my friends will die over the next year. Pretty high odds when you think of it.

What about the odds that 2 or more of my Facebook friends will die over the next year. Using a binomial distribution to figure out the probability of an event occurring at least X times over N number of trials with probability of P, and using the handy binomial calculator over here:

http://onlinestatbook.com/analysis_lab/binomial_dist.html

I get
a probability of 78.9% that at least 2 of my friends will die next year
a probability of 55.9% that at least 3 of my friends will die over the next year
a probability of 33% that 4 or more of my friends will die over the next year
and a probability of 17% that 5 or more of my friends will die over the next year.

I don’t really like any of these odds. But I guess this is the problem of growing older with Facebook.

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