In January, Ralph Keeney’s paper called “Personal Decisions are the Leading Cause of Death” made quite a splash. As the title suggests, the article tackled the issue of how our choices affect our health. The paper asserts that “over one million of the 2.4 million deaths in 2000 can be attributed to personal decisions and could have been avoided if readily available alternative choices were made.”
In the same vein, a Marginal Revolution post summarized violent crime statistics. It seems that our personal choices affect our likelihood of being a victim of violent crime. MR reports the rate of victimization for violent crimes (per 1,000 persons aged 12 and over), summarized below. Married men and women have drastically lower rates of victimization than their unmarried counterparts. Interestingly, divorced men and women have drastically higher rates of victimization than their married counterparts. Even more interesting is that these trends appear to be much stronger for women than men. I’m not sure what to make of all of this. The general trends are not so surprising to me, the the strength of these trends (particularly for the divorced) is troubling. Now I know that correlation doesn’t imply causation, but these overwhelming statistics seem to suggest personal choices play a role.
Never Married Males: 45.0
Married Males: 12.3
Divorced or Separated Males: 44.2
Never Married Females: 38.4
Married Females: 10.3
Divorced or Separated Females: 49.4
What do you make of this?
- Keeney’s article (published in the Nov/Dec issue of Operations Research)
- OR forum discussing the Keeney article
- Marginal Revolution post
- US DOJ Crime Statistics