The good folks at Io9 posted an interesting map showing the deadliest regions for death by nature in the United States , and though they made some mistakes (saying that the Midwest was the deadliest region when it was really the Mountain West), the map as a whole is very interesting and thought provoking. There are some observations worth making.
For one, deaths by nature seem to occur (unsurprisingly) in areas where more people live in nature. The New York-New Jersey-New England area and the Southwest (the urban enclaves of California, Nevada, and Arizona) are the safest places. The Mountain West (The Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah) are the deadliest, with the South not too far behind (from New Mexico to Florida, up to the Carolinas, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Oklahoma). The spans though are not very big in terms of standard deviation, only showing a 1.5 standard deviation for the deadliest region. Some subregions showed themselves particularly dangerous, such as the lower Mississippi valley, the upper Great Plains, West Texas, and the Florida panhandle.
The deadliest natural disasters usually aren’t the ones to make the news. 19.6% of deaths are from heat or drought, 18.8% because of severe weather, 18.1% because of winter weather (snow and ice), 14% because of flooding, 11.6% because of tornadoes, and 11.3% because of lightning. 1.5% die because of hurricanes or tropical storms, and only 0.4% because of wildfires.
It is a shame the research was only in the United States. I would be interested in seeing the comparison in relative death rates (and absolute numbers) between different parts of the world. What are the odds, for example, of dying of natural causes in Bangladesh compared to the United States? What is the comparison between deaths from heat/drought in Europe versus the United States. To what extent does death to natural causes lower the average lifespan in Haiti, where even a tropical storm that would kill no one in the United States kills 1,000 Haitians. That is the sort of statistics that is most interesting to know, as the differences outside of the United States are likely to be far broader than those within the United States. At least I would think so.