What Are The Odds?

By The Old Farmer's Almanac
Jul 20, 2017
Question Mark


Rate this Post: 

No votes yet

Hardly a day goes by when we do not consider the likelihood, or chance, of an event happening. Here are some calculated real odds in a variety of categories. Some may surprise you, some will tickle your funny bone, and others may make you scratch your head. Some may make you say “I’ve beaten those odds!”

• Of being arachnophobic (afraid of spiders): 1 in 4
• Of being ariophobic (afraid of flying): 1 in 5
• Of being cynophobic (afraid of dogs): 1 in 9
• Of being iatrophobic (afraid of doctors): 1 in 11
• Of being mysophobic (afraid of germs): 1 in 4

Natural Disasters
• Of a tsunami impacting the West Coast of North America: 1 in 2
• That if a tornado develops, it occurs in the United States: 3 in 4
• Of an asteroid hitting Earth: 1 in 100,000,000

• Of being left-handed: 1 in 10
• Of being born an identical twin: 1 in 285

• Of contracting food poisoning: 1 in 6
• Of hospitalization for an injury incurred on an amusement park ride: 1 in 7,000,000
• Of injury while handling fireworks: 3 in 100,000

Personal Habits/Behaviors
• Of an adult biting his or her fingernails: 1 in 6
• Of being a compulsive shopper: 1 in 16
• Of having a tattoo: 1 in 5

• Of becoming a professional athlete: 1 in 22,000
• Of bowling a perfect 300 game: 1 in 11,500
• Of winning an Olympic gold medal: 1 in 660,000

Want to read more “What Are the Odds?” calculations? Find them in The 2015 Old Farmer’s Almanac!

About This Blog

This new corner of Almanac.com will feature news, information, and cool stuff from The Old Farmer’s Almanac and its family of publications.

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Please learn the difference

Please learn the difference between odds and probability. The definition given in the print version of this article and the factoids here are all probabilities. Probability is the one the is measured as favorable outcomes divided by total outcomes. Odds are measured by favorable outcomes divided by unfavorable outcomes. In the example in the print edition the odds would more correctly be calculated as 1/3. You could have asked any algebra teacher.

Thanks, Dave. The odds are

Thanks, Dave. The odds are pretty even that you probably set us straight. We appreciate your clarification.

Fear of flying is a

Fear of flying is a too-inclusive term. I don't fly, but have done, and enjoyed it. I don't fly because it is not, contrary to popular belief, safer than automobiles.
This brings us to odds: I have been in many auto crashes and not been hurt. One motorcycle crash changed my life forever. BUT; If any of those had been a plane crash, I most likely would not be writing this.The odds are not one in a million, or whatever number people put up, but 50-50. If I get on a plane it will either crash or it won't...50-50. "Odds" can only apply if there is a chance of multiple uneventful flights and many fatal crashes to draw statistics from. Since I'm just one person, not the entire Human race, the only odds that apply are a flip of the coin, live or die.
So. I'm not afraid to fly, I enjoy it...I just think it's unwise.


+ a 4-season guide to raising chickens!

You will also be subscribed to our Almanac Companion Newsletter

The Almanac Webcam

Chosen for You from The Old Farmer's Store