A study published in Annals of Epidemiology by Swiss researchers found a startling statistic – you are 14% more likely to die on your birthday than on any other day of the year.

The study was carried out by researchers from universities and hospitals in Switzerland. The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal, Annals of Epidemiology. No sources of funding for this research were declared.

The researchers analysed Swiss mortality statistics from 1969 to 2008. This included data from 2,380,997 dead people.

Findings in the study:

The study found that on average, people over the age of 60 were found to be 14% more likely to die on their birthdays. Most of this rise was seen because of myocardial infarctions, which rose 18.6% on birthdays. Levels of strokes rose by 21.5% while cancer deaths a mere 10.5%.

The findings in the study also gave credence to the “birthday blues”, which suggested the stress of turning a year older could be be lethal as years stack up in your life.

Men were found to be 44% more likely to die in a fatal fall on their birthdays than other days of the year while 35% were found to be more likely committing suicide that very day. The study also stated that 29% were more likely to perish in an accident.

‘The authors also suggested that this increase in deaths could be related to the excessive drinking of alcohol on birthday parties or celebrations at home.

Interesting facts about birthday deaths from history:

  • In 1978 the Australian government decided to abolish estate taxes – or inheritance tax. The estates of anyone who died on or after 1 July 1979 would escape tax. The estates of anyone who died before that date would not. The data suggests a significant number of deaths were “postponed” long enough to avoid paying tax.
  • Ingrid Bergman died of breast cancer on her 67th birthday in 1982.
  • William Shakespeare is also reported to have died on his 52nd birthday in 1616 of unknown causes.