Powerball Lottery Ticket
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Odds of Winning Powerball Lottery Versus Dying in an Airplane Crash

“T he chances of dying in a plane crash are equivalent to being struck by lightning seven times” — at least if flying in the United States — according to this article written by Nina Golgowski of the New York Daily News, which quoted an aviation expert.

What does that actually mean in terms of a comparison to winning the estimated $1.5 billion — that is billion with a B — in the Powerball lottery?

Odds of Winning Powerball Lottery Versus Dying in an Airplane Crash

According to this article written by Tom Gerencer of MoneyNation, your odds of winning the grand prize of the Powerball lottery drawing on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 are one in 292,201,338; whereas the odds of being killed in an airplane crash are one in 7,200.

There is some disagreement about the odds of dying in an airplane crash: according to this article from The Economist, the odds for a British person are one in 3,500,000; while according to this article written by David Ropeik for Public Broadcasting Service television program NOVA, the annual risk of being killed in a plane crash for the average American is about one in 11,000,000.

Regardless of which numbers you prefer to believe — and there are many more variations of them out there on the Internet — one thing is for certain: your odds of winning the jackpot of any Powerball drawing is significantly more unlikely than being killed in an airplane crash…

…and no matter which numbers you believe, you are most likely not going to die in an airplane crash, as that chances of that happening are incredibly low.

Your chances of being involved in an automobile accident are significantly higher, however — especially if you are a passenger in a moving vehicle where the driver is texting

…which means that the odds of you being involved — or killed — in an automobile accident on your way to purchasing the lottery ticket or to the airport are substantially more likely than you winning the jackpot of the Powerball lottery drawing; and certainly far more likely than being killed in an airplane crash.

Comparing Odds

Just for fun, you are also more likely for the following to happen to you than you winning the jackpot of the Powerball lottery drawing, as compiled from multiple sources:

  • Being “discovered” in Hollywood: One in 1.5 million
  • Being abducted by aliens: One in 112,305,118
  • Have an Intelligence Quotient of 190 or greater: One in 107 million
  • Being elected as president of the United States: One in 43 million
  • Becoming a professional athlete: One in 22,000
  • Giving birth to conjoined twins: One in 200,000
  • Conceiving identical triplets: One in one million
  • Give birth to quadruplets, even without the help of fertility treatments: One in 729,000
  • Being hit by a car and killed: One in 701
  • Being an American billionaire by a means other than winning the lottery: One in 575,097
  • Contracting the Ebola virus: One in 13.3 million
  • Be killed by an asteroid strike: One in 700,000
  • Be killed by a lightning strike: One in 164,968
  • Die by drowning: One in 1,113
  • Be struck by lightning, while drowning: One in 183 million
  • Dying from a bee sting: One in 80,000
  • Death by a falling coconut: One in 250 million
  • Being killed by a murderous vending machine: One in 112 million
  • Being stampeded to death by a giant red platypus riding a rabid green furry elephant with seven legs backwards down Fifth Avenue in New York during an earthquake in the middle of a blizzard in July as aliens descend on a parade which — well…I think you get the idea


I apologize for giving such a gloomy outlook on your virtually impossible chances of being the sole winner of the grand prize of the Powerball lottery drawing; but look at the bright side: you can continue to travel as a passenger on an airplane without worrying that it will crash.

My advice to you is to stay away from those murderous vending machines and giant red platypuses. That will help increase your chances of living longer — just as there have been no reports of shark attacks on passengers inside of airports since the formation and implementation of the Transportation Security Administration. Keep up the good work, folks.

Still, you have absolutely zero chance of winning anything unless you purchase one ticket for two dollars — and if you do, I wish you the best of luck on winning.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

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