If you know of several people who have died on their birthdays, you might wonder, "Is there a name for dying on your birthday?" Because dying on your birthday is a relatively rare phenomenon, there are only a few terms that describe it.
Is There a Name for Dying on Your Birthday?
There appears to be only one term for dying on your birthday that has been invented at this time, "birthday-perisher." In a 2012 Time Magazine article, writer Anoosh Chakelian used the term "birthday-perisher" to describe people who died on their birthday. This word accurately describes a person who died on his or her birthday and appears to be the only term used professionally for this type of person.
Dying on Your Birthday Meaning
For those who follow the teachings of the Talmud, dying on your birthday has great meaning. The Talmud, from Judaism, teaches that it is considered special and perfect to die on your birthday. Moses is said to have passed away on his 120th birthday. Chasidic masters in Judaism share that life is a mission God gives you that begins and ends on your birthday. Dying on your birthday therefore indicates you have completed your God-given earthly mission.
Do You Have a Higher Chance of Dying on Your Birthday?
There is not a ton of research on the chances of dying on your birthday, but a couple studies suggest you are a little more likely to die on your birthday than any other day of the year.
The Birthday Blues
The birthday blues, also called the anniversary reaction, is a theory that a person's impending birthday is a stressful event that provokes the death of a suicidal person or a person with a serious medical condition. A 2015 Hungarian study looked at the birthday blues in relation to suicides and found that men of all ages had higher suicide rates on their birthdays. The same was only true for women over age 60.
The Birthday Effect
The birthday effect is a phenomenon of statistics where a person's chances of dying increase as their birthday approaches.
- A 2012 study by Swiss researchers determined that you are 14% more likely to die on your birthday than any other day of the year if you are over the age of 60. They examined 2.5 million deaths to calculate this data and found that 900 of those people were reported to have died on their birthdays. If you do the math, that equals about a 1 in 2,800 chance of dying on your birthday.
- A 2015 study on U.S. death rates found that people have a nearly 7% higher chance of dying on their birthday than any other day of the year. The study examined 25 million deaths and further found that young people under age 29 have a higher birthday death rate than older age groups.
- If you convert the percentages from these studies to odds, your odds of dying on your birthday are 6:1 if you are over age 60 and 13:1 if you are under age 29.
Odds of Dying Comparisons
To put this information in perspective, you can look at your odds of dying in other ways. You can also compare these odds to other wacky danger statistics and positive experiences such as your odds of winning the lottery. All odds are rounded for the ease of comparison.
Happy Death Day to You?
Your chances of dying on your birthday aren't astronomical, but it's totally possible this special day could mark more than one milestone in your life. Depending on your personal beliefs, death does not have to be the end of everything. Explore death in cultures around the world to see if you can find more meaning in dying on your birthday or if a parent or grandparent dies on your birthday.