Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Live Fast, Die Young... Celebrity Birthdays/Deathdays!

Given the rash of celebrity deaths in 2016 I got thinking about the longevity of celebrity. Not the celebrity itself or the time someone is famous, but the longevity of actual celebrities lives themselves.

Of course, the first trick is figuring out what constitutes a celebrity? I thought about looking at list on Wikipedia what is the top 100 rock stars or something like that. But none of that seemed like a reliable list with a lot of historical data that I can do something with a real analysis on. That's when I found and I realize that I could do a whole lot which date set they were using!

When I realized they had WHAT people were "famous for" I could have just died... they even had what I will go on to classify as "new media" stars in it (people like YouTube stars, Instagram celebs, etc). This was pretty much my face when I started getting into the thick of it:

I started wondering not only if celebrities were dying younger today than they used to but also if I could figure out any trends based on "type" of celebrity.

Let's hop into the data!

First off lets look at the nature of the celebrities on The big thing to remember is the LOWER the number the HIGHER the celebrity "value". Ie "1" would be the top celebrity on the site (which is currently Justin Bieber by the way).

For all those people out there who think astrological signs play into personality I have this breakdown of astrological signs:

Cancers tend to be the largest contingent of "famous" people with 8.9% of the population but consist of only 8.5 % of the US population.

But you didn't come here for astrology....
Dave Coulier is almost as awesome as Bob Sagat

First let's look at the age spread in the population of the data both currently and at time of death:

The median age at the time of death for this group is 51.5 years old. When we think of celebrities though we tend of think of the Kurt Cobain's, the Chris Farley's, and other young talent killed because of choices or lifestyle. Given 52 is still far younger than the median death age of 78.6 here in the United States we could chalk it up to all kinds of external factors like diet, lack of sleep, etc.

So finally here's the big chart, here's the proof in the puddin' that, YES, celebrity is killing people quicker now than ever before. You can see at the bottom of the following chart that the average age of celebrities dying over time has gotten younger and younger... younger now than I honestly thought would be reasonable. I believe the main cause for this extremely low age of death is due to the fact that a LARGE chunk of this data set is taken up by "New Media" (as I've defined it) stars and because these stars tend to be of a younger generation it's skewed more recent data towards younger trends in death. Obviously though that's not entirely the case as if you mouse-over areas below such as "Musician" you'll notice that the trend towards younger deaths has been going for almost 100 years!

The average lifespan in the United States increases by approximately 1 year for every decade while the average lifespan of "celebrities" tends to drop by about 8 years for every decade!

Of course you may hope that your fave celebrity will live forever and you wouldn't be alone.

In the meantime I say that we cast whatever witchcraft we have to to keep Betty White around and telling jokes!

I hope you found this interesting. This data isn't quite as malleable as I hoped that it would be and it took a TON of data-shaping to get the large-scale celebrity groups created but I think the analysis has been worth it. If you have any questions or concerns you know you can always hit me up on twitter at @wjking0 or leave a comment below!

P.S. This is the second entry in my #1YearOfViz that I'm working on. You can check out the list of all published works here.

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