Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Comfort of Statistics

March 10th, 2010 · 1 Comment

For those suffering from a grave case of ursinophobia, we provide the following snippet from Bear Facts, an informational brochure produced by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Many bears live in Alaska and many people enjoy the outdoors, but surprisingly few people even see bears. Only a tiny percentage of those few are ever threatened by a bear. A study by the state epidemiologist showed that during the first 85 years of this century, only 20 people died in bear attacks in Alaska. In the 10 years 1975-85, 19 people in Alaska were killed by dogs.

This stat may actually say less about the relative peacefulness of bears than it does about Alaska’s canine woes. According to this 2009 study, the state has by far the highest death rate from dog attacks, at 11.83 per 10 million people. (Yes, we realize that Alaska has well under 1 million residents. The paper expresses everything in that unit.) Similarly tiny and rural North Dakota, by contrast, didn’t have a single dog-bite fatality between 1979 and 2005.

See the full map of dog-bite fatalities by state here.

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